Jack Arbanas, 78

Jack Arbanas, age 78, died Saturday, July 7, 2012.

For the past year, he was lovingly cared for by his wife, Rose, and the Willows staff at Spring Arbor Assisted Living for Alzheimer’s disease.

He was born April 5, 1934, in Calumet, a son of Marion and Mary Arbanas.

Since 1971, he was a resident of Sturgis. He spent 31 years as an elementary principal in the Sturgis Public Schools. His primary goal was to foster his staff’s creativity in providing the most successful approaches and strategies for encouraging the diversity of all students’ talents in the learning process. One might have caught a sense of this if you looked at Snoopy ‘The Red Baron’ flying his plane on the roof of Wenzel Elementary School.

Jack spent most of his childhood in Mattawan. After high school he served in the U.S. Navy. He received a bachelor of arts degree in education and a Master of Arts degree in administration at Western Michigan University. His career in education included teaching fifth and sixth grade at Vine Street School in Kalamazoo, sixth grade at Sobrante Park School in Oakland, Calif., and sixth grade and library resource director at North School in Glencoe, Ill.

He spent several summers in the 1960s working for the American Association for the Advancement of Science along with science professors and teachers from all over the country, in developing the “Science: A Process Approach.” The program emphasized hands-on inquiry-based learning through group participation for kindergarten through sixth grade.

Jack spent his last several summers at his cottage at Klinger Lake and winters in San Francisco, where he volunteered for the Golden Gate National Park’s Maritime Museum rehabilitating small wooden boats. His hobbies were sailing, sail boarding, tennis, kayaking, biking, skiing in the Sierra’s and building beautiful furniture for his and his daughters’ homes.

Jack loved his family, his friends, his work, his community and his red Miata.

He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Rose; daughters Suzanne (Mirza) Huntic of Sarajevo and Jennifer (Tim) Macri of Chapel Hill, N.C.; and grandchildren, Miranda, Jordan, Meleena, and Ida.He is also survived by two sisters and four brothers, Mary (Tom) Vedder, Patsy (George) Breitenbach, Tom Arbanas, Rudy (Betty) Arbanas, Jerry Arbanas and Larry (Peggy) Arbanas; a sister in-law and brother in- law, Jerry and Shirley McDevitt; and many nephews and nieces.

Services for relatives and friends will be held at a later timel. Any contributions in Jack’s honor may be made to Sturgis Area Community Foundation.

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