Friday, 31 March 2023

Former Lakeport finance, parks director dies

LAKEPORT – A longtime former city department head has died.

Larry Jack, 64, who served as Lakeport's finance and parks director for many years, died at his home in Puerto Rico late last week, said City Attorney Steve Brookes.

Jack was to be brought back to Lake County over the weekend, said Brookes, with funeral services to take place sometime this coming week.

Brookes said Jack joined the city's finance department around 1980, working his way up to leading finance and parks before he retired in 2002. During that time, he oversaw a significant portion of the city's growth, and would become one of the longest-serving city department heads.

Jack, a graduate of Pepperdine University, moved to Lakeport in the late 1970s, after having worked at Hughes Aircraft in Southern California, said Brookes.

He was good with numbers and also brought a sense of humor to his work, Brookes added.

While keeping busy in city government, Jack also found time to be a volunteer fireman, said Brookes.

Jack helped hire former Police Chief Tom Engstrom, who remembered Jack as a wonderful person to work with, a professional and “a great guy.” Engstrom expressed shock and sadness at his death.

“He's basically responsible for bringing me here to Lakeport, which is probably one of the best things that has ever happened in our family's life,” said Engstrom.

Jack's responsibilities made him close to being a city manager, said Engstrom. The city hired its first official city manager, Randy Johnsen, in 2001.

Engstrom recalled Jack's professionalism as he guided police chief candidates – including Engstrom – through the interview process. Serving as police chief in Soledad at the time, Engstrom said Jack visited the community to do a background check, and kept him up-to-date on what was happening when.

“So we got to know each other pretty well,” said Engstrom, who was a guest at Jack's wedding to his wife, Nidia.

Nidia Jack is originally from Puerto Rico, but the couple met in Lake County. Engstrom said Larry Jack purchased land in Puerto Rico and dreamed of building a home there after retirement, which he did. Jack showed Engstrom plans for his home – a concrete, hurricane-proof building – with views of the ocean.

Brookes said Jack had been in Puerto Rico about three years, and they had kept in touch. Engstrom said Jack extended invitations to all of his friends to come and visit him at his new home.

Engstrom said Jack was a good guy and a good family man, with two grown children – a son and a daughter. “He was very proud of his kids.”

Engstrom said he'll miss his friend, who gave him the opportunity to come to Lakeport. “I'll always be grateful to him for that.”

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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