Jack Criqui, age 93, of Cassville, Missouri, passed away at his home on Sunday, December 23, 2018. Mr. Criqui, son of Florenz “Jack” and Charlotte (Milner) Criqui, was born on September 30, 1925, in Oakland, California. He was united in marriage to Ruth Elaine Flanders, who preceded him in death in 1983. Mr. Criqui subsequently married MaryAnn Compton on February 4, 1984; she preceded him in death on July 21, 2018.
Mr. Criqui volunteered to serve his country at the age of 17 during WWII. He was sent to the European Theater as a member of the 300th Combat Engineers. After surviving the London Blitz, he was sent to Isigny, France, to build floating and Bailey bridges. Due to his ability to type, he was promoted to Supply Sergeant, where he became quite popular. He liked to tell a story about taking inventory and noticing a massive crane was missing. It was found in a nearby village where a gentleman insisted he had purchased it from a soldier for $10 and a pack of cigarettes.
After the war, Mr. Criqui returned home and was the first in his family to attend college. He loved the sciences, especially biology and botany. Upon graduation, he was employed by the Department of Fish and Game to map the lakes and rivers of Yosemite National Park. This huge task was done solely on horseback and took several months of living in the wild.
Mr. Criqui met his future wife, Ruth, while attending college. Mr. Criqui had a near perfect photographic memory, so college came easily, but he claimed he was a lazy student because he never studied and would sleep “with his eyes open” in class.
Mr. Criqui was recruited by NASA during the 1960s to work as a scientist for the U.S. during the “space race” with the Soviets. The government sent him to graduate school in chemistry, and Mr. Criqui’s love of the sciences was expanded beyond the life sciences. He achieved graduate degrees in both biology and chemistry.
Mr. Criqui worked as a college administrator at the College of the Siskiyous and as a chemistry professor and administrator at Chabot College, both in California.
He settled in Cassville in 2011 where he enjoyed reading, genealogy, traveling the world and spending time with his family. Jack was a scientist who was always interested in the world around him and never stopped learning.
Survivors include: his two daughters, Lauri Heberline and her husband Randy, of Cassville, and Sari Cochrane and her husband David, of El Dorado, California; twelve grandchildren, Alyssa, Matti, Adriene, Andrew, Wesley, Veronica, John, Ruthie, Ricky, Molly, Taylor and Sari; and four great-grandchildren.
In addition to his parents and wives, he was preceded in death by two daughters, Nancy Dold and Tina Brumley; and one sister, Lois Howard.
A burial with Military Honors will be held at 1:00 p.m. on January 4, 2019, at the Fayetteville National Cemetery in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Service arrangements are under the direction of the White Funeral Home and Crematory, Cassville, Missouri.