John F. “Jack” Alleman, 88, of Amherst, Wisconsin, passed away peacefully with his family by his side on January 19th, 2011. Jack was born in Eldon, Iowa, on August 18th, 1922, where he was raised during the Depression in a modest house on the banks of the Des Moines River. After graduating from Eldon High School as salutatorian in 1939, he set off in a car with two friends to find their fortunes in California. Along the way he worked construction on Shasta dam, as a cowboy in California, and then hopped on a boat to Alaska where construction work was promised at Dutch Harbor in the Aleutians. Jack was at Dutch Harbor when the Japanese bombed the installation in June 1942, and following the bombing, he returned to California and enlisted in the Army Air Corps as a fighter pilot. He was a daring and courageous pilot, first in WWII flying missions over France and Germany in P-38s as part of the 30th Photo Recon Squadron. After the war in Europe ended, Jack was transferred to the 39th Tactical Recon and 12th Photo Recon Squadrons posted at March Field, California where he became one of the first pilots to fly the Army Air Corps’ first jet fighter, the P-80 Shooting Star. He also was an excellent athlete as a young man, winning the outstanding athlete award over several big-time college athletes at his Army Air Corps Pre-Flight School at Stevens Point Teachers College. After leaving the Army Air Corps in early 1947, Jack met his wife, Betty, in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, and they eloped in Kansas City. The two of them moved to Boulder, Colorado where their first son, John, Jr., was born and Jack earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado while flying P-51s as a member of the Colorado Air National Guard before being called to active duty during the Korean War. He later earned a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of North Dakota in 1963. Jack stayed in the Air Force after the Korean War, completing 20 years as an Air Force officer when he retired as a Lt. Colonel in 1967. During his military career, Jack was a Base Engineer, C-47 transport pilot (earning a Bush Pilot Certificate and the nickname “Sourdough Jack” flying supplies to remote Arctic radar sites in Alaska), the first commander at the Grand Forks, North Dakota Air Defense Command base, and deeply involved in the deployment of the NORAD DEW line radar control bunkers and the deployment and maintenance of the critical Air Force ICBMs from North Dakota to Oklahoma. Jack and Betty’s second son, Karl, was born on one of their last assignments as an active duty US Air Force family in Altus, Oklahoma. After leaving the military, Jack continued as a private pilot, and in his 60s and 70s, he flew his Cessna single prop plane solo between Wisconsin and Alaska several times. Jack’s formal profession was civil engineering, and he designed and built bridges, dams, roads, and airports, and he also was a teacher of civil engineering at Wisconsin Rapids Technical College. He built the house that he and Betty lived in for the past 43 years, along with several swimming pools and other buildings on the homestead. He became a hobby farmer in the 1970s, raising horses, beef and dairy cattle, chickens, and pigs. Later in life as “Sourdough Jack”, he was a highly independent woodsman and gold miner of Alaska. In the late 1980s and ’90s, he helped revive the Alaskan Independence Party and played a lead role in electing the Governor of Alaska in 1990, later leading a petition for this Governor’s recall. During this period, he visited the United Nations and gave a speech about the need for Alaskan independence. He held several political positions over the years including the Portage County Board of Supervisors in Wisconsin. And in his spare time, he was a hunter, fisherman, and golfer, and operated a campground and dredging business. Over the past several years, in his late-80s, he was completing his first book and the construction of a log cabin. Nothing mattered more to Jack than his family. He was a devoted and loyal husband – he and Betty were married for over 63 wonderful years, traveling the world and particularly enjoying their many trips to the beaches of Puerto Rico and the wilderness of Alaska. His sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren were his pride and joy, and he reveled in their achievements and potential. Brilliant, courageous, principled, hard-working, passionate, inspirational, loyal, loving family man – that was Jack Alleman. He is survived by his wife, Betty, nee Menzel, his sons, John, Jr. (Loredana) and Karl (Kathleen), his grandchildren, Matteo, Zachary, Jacob, and Karleen, and his sister, Vera Bacon. He was preceded in death by his father, Fred Alleman, and his mother, Ruth Alleman, nee Troette. The John F. Alleman Scholarship is being established at Cardinal High School in Eldon, Iowa, Jack’s hometown. This scholarship will be given each year to a varsity football player planning to attend a 4-year college who demonstrates an intense passion for life, and impeccable values and ethics. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the John F. Alleman Scholarship Fund at 13 Woodstock Avenue, Clarendon Hills, IL 60514. Interment will be at Badger Cemetery in Lanark Township, Wisconsin, where a burial service will be held on February 5th at 2 pm. Hallowell & James Funeral Home is assisting the family (708-352-6500).