John E. (Jack) Hummel, 70, died suddenly on Jan. 9 on the mountain he loved so well from extensive internal injuries to his chest, lungs and rib cage after an accident at the Wolf Creek Ski Area. Jack was skiing with his wife, Josie, when he veered off the groomed trail on Bunny Hop and crashed into a tree. He was wearing a helmet and had no head injuries.
He is survived by his loving wife and best friend, Josie; his sister Mary Ann Akers and her husband Larry from Helena, Mont.; several cousins who live in the Eastern U.S.; as well as a multitude of golfing, skiing and hiking friends in Pagosa Springs. He was predeceased by his parents, John W. and Mary Daley Hummel, his aunts, Helen Reilly and Anne Reilly Daley, and his uncle, Edmund Daley.
Jack was born on Dec. 10, 1942, in Pottsville, Pa. He attended Nativity Catholic High School where he played on the football team and was involved in many other school activities. He played the violin, encouraged by his Aunt Helen, who also inspired his love of classical music. After graduating, he went to St. Charles Seminary in Pennsylvania and then Gregorian University in Rome, intending to become a priest. After a change of mind, he returned to the U.S. to attend La Salle University in Philadelphia where he graduated with a B.A. summa cum laude. He later did graduate work at Temple and Penn State universities, majoring in Spanish and early childhood education.
Jack was fluent in Spanish and Italian and competent in French. His language skills and love of people led him to work for Head Start, specializing in parental involvement, bilingual services and health care for low income families. Having loved the West all his life, he then moved to Denver where he switched careers, taking computer courses at Parks College and becoming a computer operations manager.
After Jack’s retirement in 2001, the Hummels moved to Pagosa Springs in 2003. They became regulars at the Pagosa Springs Golf Club where Jack was a long-time member of the Monday-Thursday skins group, and active members of the Gray Wolf Ski Club. Jack and Josie were avid skiers and Jack also hiked with this senior outdoors group. The Hummels enjoyed travel and adventure, camping all over the U.S. and also traveling extensively in Europe.
Jack loved to keep up to date on the latest sports equipment technologsy. He was famous for buying every new golf club, pair of skis and high-tech ski boots that came along, as the collection in his garage attests.
A funeral service was held Jan. 15 in Pennsylvania near Jack’s hometown of Pottsville, where he will be interred in the family plot at St. Patrick’s Church Calvary Cemetery. A celebration of Jack’s life will be scheduled in Pagosa Springs in the summer after his many “snowbird” golfing friends return from Arizona, Texas and Florida.
Jack’s sense of humor and enjoyment of life energized his friends. Always optimistic, he spread cheer with his wonderful laugh and jovial personality. We will cherish memories of our fun times together. To honor Jack, contributions may be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research at www.michaeljfox.org or Grand Central Station, P.O. Box 4777, New York, NY 10163-4777.