On January 25, 2018, Jack Delbert Kyle, beloved husband, father, and grandfather, took his final earthly walk and walked into the presence of his Lord and Savior. Jack, the fifth child born to Jack Anthis Kyle and Birdie Mae Henry, greeted the world on January 13, 1931 in Rockdale, Texas.
Jack grew up in Rockdale, Texas where he was a star athlete. It was there he earned the title of the "Rockdale Rocket", known for his speed and tenacity on the field. Jack thought he had hung up his football cleats for the last time when he caught the eye of a coach at Sam Houston State Teacher's College. He was so impressed with Jack that he offered him a full football scholarship. Jack, who came from humble beginnings was astounded to learn he would be able to go to college, all expenses paid, all for playing a game he loved. At Sam Houston, he excelled on the field, starring as a running back, place kicker, punter, and defensive back. He was selected to the "Little All-American Team" in 1951, named All-Conference 2 years, as well as being named captain. His impact on the football program has continued to this day, where he still holds records, including the longest return in school history and the second-most points scored in a single game.
Jack's love affair with Sam Houston State University (SHSU) began at the age of 17, the day he walked on the campus, and lasted until the last beat of his heart. It was only rivaled by the love he had for his wife of 65 years, Mary Charles Kyle, whom he met while at SHSU. Over the years, he served the University in many capacities, including devoting countless hours to the Letterman's Association. In 1977, he was inducted into the Bearkat Hall of Honor and on three separate occasions, he served as its President of the Letterman's Association.
In 1983, he received the honor of being named one of Sam Houston State University Distinguished Alumni.
Public service was an integral part of Jack's life, which he demonstrated throughout his career. When Jack graduated from SHSU, he became an educator and coach in the Huntsville Independent School District. He was respected as a dedicated teacher and an excellent coach, helping lead the Huntsville Hornets to a 1953 State Championship. Jack left teaching in May of 1958 and joined the Texas Department of Corrections (TDC). At just 34 years old, he became the youngest warden in history in the Texas prison system, when he was assigned to the Ferguson Prison Unit. Jack often said his days at Ferguson were some of his happiest. Soon after becoming Warden, he was appointed as Assistant Director for Business at TDC. He was a hard worker, a fair boss, and a man of character in all he did. Before retiring in 1984, he was appointed by the Texas Supreme Court to serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Texas State Employees Retirement System. In 1991, Governor Ann Richards appointed him as Chairman of the Texas Board of Pardon and Paroles.
In addition to his service to TDC and SHSU, Jack was deeply ingrained in his community. He was a Lifetime Silver Spur Member for the Walker County Fair, a Walker County and City of Huntsville Public Safety Executive Board Member, and an Honorary Judge for the Second Administrative Judicial District. He was pivotal in establishing and organizing the annual Criminal Justice Conference for Judges throughout Texas. Jack was a dedicated member of the First United Methodist Church of Huntsville, where he occupied the same pew for over fifty years. He was a member of the Forrest Lodge #19 AF&AM; Huntsville Masonic Lodge for sixty-five years, as well as a member of the York Masonry, San Jacinto Chapter 7.
Jack was a devoted family man and friend. He most enjoyed his time at Club Lake. Each year, he looked forward to hosting his college football buddies at Club Lake, as well as joining his brothers, Larry and Scotty, on a pilgrimage to the Texas Coast. Always a lover of animals, he always enjoyed quiet afternoons with his puppy, Pippin, curled up in his lap.
Jack was proceeded in death by two sisters, Lucille (Kyle) Towery and Ila Odell Kyle; and two brothers, Graham Gillis Kyle and wife Dorris, Henry Welton Kyle and wife Helen; sister-in-law, Buttons Kyle. He is survived by his devoted wife, Mary Charles, as well as his daughters, Debbie Kyle McGee and husband Bobby McGee, Kathy Kyle Bankhead and husband Steve Bankhead; grandchildren, Kyle, Megan, and Anna McGee, Matthew, Deborah, and Michael Bankhead; Siblings, Ila Mae Kyle Cook and husband John, Phyllis Kyle Marshall and husband Fred, Larry Kyle, and Scotty Kyle and wife Dorothy.
The Family will receive friends at Sam Houston Memorial Funeral Home, on Monday, January 29th at 5pm. A celebration of life service will be held at 10:00 A.M. on Tuesday, January 30, 2018 at the First United Methodist Church of Huntsville with the Reverend Daniel Patrick officiating.
In lieu of flowers, it was Jack's wishes that contributions should be made to the Life Member Fund of SHSU Letterman Association, the First Methodist Church of Huntsville, or a charity of your choice.
Memorial condolences may be made to the family online at www.shmfh.com.
Published on January 29, 2018