John Edward Schenkel (Jack), was born on 11 November 1944 in Toledo, Ohio, the first child (a twin) of his parents Willard and Ruth Schenkel. Jack finished his 10 year battle with Alzheimer’s Disease at Alive Hospice in Nashville, Tennessee, on 27 November 2023.
In a small, two-story row house in east Toledo, Jack grew up with his 6 brothers and sisters: Jim (his twin), JoAnn, Jeff, Jeanne, Janis, and Jennifer. Each day they either walked to school or to church at Sacred Heart. Jack graduated from Waite High School in 1962 and entered the United States Air Force. He served honorably, with postings in Alaska, Vietnam, and, eventually, the St. Louis area, where he had the great fortune to meet his wife, Lorna, at a USO event. They married in 1965, and saw the birth of their first son, Dennis, in 1966. After his discharge from the Air Force, they moved to Memphis in September of that same year. Their second son, David, was born in 1968, and their third son, Douglas, was born in 1971.
Jack started his own carpet-cleaning business, and between raising a young family and needing space for carpet-cleaning gear, they were a station-wagon family for short time, and eventually became a van family with a customized, carpeted Ford panel van. In 1974, a few weeks before Christmas, they move into their home on Aurora Circle. The boys enrolled at the parish school, Saint Michael, and it was there that Jack made many of his best, lifelong friends.
Owning his own business allowed Jack the freedom to prioritize his family. Between helping with the church youth group, the Scouts, and his kids’ sports teams, Jack began to become a dad to more kids than just his own. He was re-introduced to soccer (which he always said he first saw in his old neighborhood in Toledo) and found his real passion.
Coaching youth teams, and then Olympic development teams, led to his assisting the young soccer program at Christian Brothers University in the late 1980’s, and becoming their first Women’s Soccer Coach in 1992. At the same time, while both running his business and coaching, he went back to college in his 40’s and graduated in 1993. Except for the year he coached the State Champion Houston High School boys’ soccer team in 1994, he remained at CBU until 1998. In 2000 he joined the faculty and coaching staff at Saint Benedict at Auburndale Catholic High School. By the end of his career in 2014, he had coached or taught hundreds of young men and women, including an Olympic gold medalist.
But his real love wasn’t as much for soccer as it was for the young people he had the great privilege to coach and teach. For many, he was the second dad they needed at a time they most needed one. This was the achievement he was most proud of.
In 2016, after many Christmases and Fourth of July parades, Jack and Lorna sold the house on Aurora Circle and relocated to Nashville where they could be closer to their 4 grandchildren, of whom they were especially proud. As they both struggled with various health problems, they continued to take care of and look after each other, even as they both needed more help. They had a long life together, with all its challenges and they never stopped loving each other and their family.
Jack was preceded in death by his wife of 58 years, Lorna, and by his parents, Willard and Ruth Schenkel. He is survived by his brothers and sisters, Jim, JoAnne, Jeff, Jeanne, Janis and Jennifer; and by his children, Fr. Dennis Schenkel, a Catholic priest of the Diocese of Memphis, David Schenkel and his wife, Kendra, and their children, Luke and AnnaClaire, and Douglas Schenkel and his wife, Dawn, and their children Grayson and Greer.
The family is hosting a "Celebration of Life" on Sunday, 17 December, from 5:30 to 8:30pm at the Hilton East Memphis. The funeral Mass will be celebrated for Jack and his wife Lorna on 18 December 2023 at 10:30am at Saint Michael Catholic Church in Memphis, followed by interment at the West Tennessee Veterans Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, charitable gifts may be made to Saint Benedict at Auburndale Catholic High School or the Alzheimer's Association.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Nashville Cremation Center is honored to be entrusted with handling Mr. Schenkel's arrangements. Please visit his guestbook to leave a thoughtful note for the family.