Archie Jurich Obituary
Archie Jurich passed on May 30, 2018. He was 95 years old. He was born September 19, 1922 in Rock Springs, Wyoming. He was the fifth of eight children born to Joseph and Kristina Jurich.
Archie attended school in Rock Springs and graduated from high school in 1939. He enrolled at the University of Wyoming in September of 1939 and completed the requirements for a Bachelor of Science Degree in December of 1942.
In February of 1943, Archie reported for duty in the Army. As he was fluent in the Serbo-Croation language, he was soon sent to the Army’s Specialized Training Program at Indiana University. After completing the German Language and Area program, he was assigned to the Army’s Military Intelligence School at Camp Ritchie, Maryland. While there he received training in counter intelligence, photo intelligence and interrogation of prisoners of war. As the war was about the end, he was sent to the Philippines and shortly thereafter to Tokyo to the Allied Translator and Interpreter Services.
When he returned to the United States in March of 1946, Archie had completed 37 months of active service. He remained in the Army Reserve to attain and retain his Captain’s commission.
Archie returned to the University of Wyoming for a year of graduate study in Educational Administration. He finished all the necessary courses for a Master of Science Degree, however, he didn’t write a required thesis. In May of 1947, he signed a $2,300 per year contract to teach business subjects at Jackson-Wilson High School. During his 35 year tenure at JWHS he also coached basketball and football for a number of years.
In 1947 Archie joined the “Riggan’s Wrecks” basketball team. When the other “Wrecks” retired, he played and managed the Jackson Drug “fast pitch” softball team from the early 50’s until the mid-70’s. All three of these teams won practically all the games they played both at home and away. The softball games in the early years had to be played during daylight hours, because the ball field had no lights. Archie took it upon himself to remedy this problem. The 24 hour construction of the Palisades Reservoir was nearing completion. Archie inquired if he could purchase some of the powerful flood lights and they agreed he could. Archie took a loan out at the bank and purchased the lights. Each team was responsible for digging the holes for the poles, and the players that were electricians did the installation of the lights. Over several years the teams and fans collected money to help Archie pay off the loan. Those are the lights that light up the Snow King ballpark to this day.
Archie’s life would become enriched forever beginning in September of 1957 when a young lady by the name of Lois Kemper was hired at Jackson-Wilson High School to teach Girls Physical Education and coach the cheerleading squad. She was beautiful, smart, athletic, fun and talented (nearly all the decoration in their home from beautiful paintings to crafts was done by Lois). Archie soon knew he had met his “soul mate” and on December 21, 1960 Archie and Lois were married at the home of Ralph and Jeanine Gill. It was truly a match made in heaven and they were an amazing couple who influenced and guided many of Jackson’s young people during their years in education.
After a combined 60 years of teaching in Jackson, Archie and Lois opted for early retirement in 1982. A few years later they began spending the winter months in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
In 1985 they joined the Lake Havasu Golf Club and the Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis Club. This led to playing golf (always walking – no carts) about four times a week. They also enjoyed boating, lake and fly fishing, camping, grouse hunting and most of all – just being together.
In February of 2008, Lois was diagnosed with terminal cancer. After a few months the excellent care of St. Johns Oncology Department, the hospital nurses and Dr. Hayes, Lois was taken home. On June 9, 2008, she passed away at home under the loving, wonderful and much appreciated care of St. John’s Hospice. Her death left a huge void in Archie’s world as the years with his beloved Lois had been the happiest of his life.
Archie was a member of the American Legion, the Masonic Lodge – Kalif Shrine and the Wyoming and National Education Associations.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Lois, his parents, three brothers, three sisters and several nieces and nephews. He is survived by one sister and nieces and nephews.
Cremation has taken place and his remains are now with those of the “love of his life” – his dear Lois.
A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, June 26, at 2 pm at the Owen Bircher Park in Wilson.