Jack L. Loveall: Labor Leader,
Mentor and Humanitarian

Jack L. Loveall was laid to rest during a private family service in Sacramento, Calif. on Feb. 29, 2020—his 21st leap-year birthday—after a courageous three-year battle with cancer.

He was 84 years old from Detroit, Mich., born on Leap Day, Feb. 29, 1936.

Jack was a self-made Renaissance man and the embodiment of the American Dream. He was deeply respected by his colleagues and adversaries alike.

Affectionately referred to as “Captain Jack,” he was married for 67 years to his first mate, Patricia, whom he adored. He was the father of seven, a grandfather, a great-grandfather and a beloved mentor and teacher to countless others.

He began his career in the retail grocery industry at the age of 13, when he worked as a part-time grocery clerk for Wrigley Markets in Detroit.

He joined the Retail Clerks Association in 1953 and became a Union Representative for Local 876 five years later. After a series of Union mergers, the Clerks became and remain known as the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).

Jack soon became the local’s Organizing Director and President of the Michigan States Council. In 1965, Loveall went to work for the International Union, where he was appointed Executive Assistant to the Director of Organizing and then promoted to Executive Assistant to the International President.

He served as Regional Director of the Metro New York and New England areas, was the trustee of UFCW Local 500 in Montreal, Canada, and was the Regional Director of the Southwest Region, which covered California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Hawaii.

Loveall’s ingenuity and dedication to working people helped him climb to the upper echelon of the International Union’s governing body. He was elected an International Vice President in 1971, a position he held with distinction for more than 30 years, representing working families throughout the United States, Canada, Asia and Europe.

Loveall (front and center) with officers and staff of UFCW 588-Northern California in 1988.

Jack continued his extraordinary record of accomplishments as president of UFCW 588-Northern California.

He immediately made growth and organizing top priority. His head-spinning success was demonstrated by the explosive growth of UFCW 588’s membership due to his unique personal style, dynamism and innovative leadership. He was known for his iconic negotiating skills, strategic sensibilities and steely nerve.

Jack served with distinction on the board of the California Labor Federation and as president of the Coalition of Organized Labor. He also was chairman of the UFCW Universal Trust Fund, chairman of the Northern California Joint Labor/Management Committee and chairman of the James T. Housewright Scholarship Fund.

Jack’s status as one of America’s most respected labor leaders motivated him to pursue the interests of working people at all levels of government, vigorously and tirelessly fighting for livable wages, quality health care and retirement dignity for all hard-working people.

From the earliest days of his career he displayed a powerful determination, discipline and unique capacity to work endless hours on behalf of “the members we are so privileged to represent,” a phrase he used frequently.

‘Solidarity Works’

Jack lived in the spirit of “Solidarity Works,” which he established as the motto of UFCW 588-Northern California, the Union he led for many years, and which continues as the motto of its successor Union, UFCW 8-Golden State.

Nothing was more important to Jack than human interaction. He elevated making meaningful connections with others to an art form.

Jack’s passing prompted an outpouring of messages from near and far to the Loveall family from those who were touched by his life and his work. The consistent theme in these messages is “Jack made life better.”

An insatiable reader throughout his life, Jack had a wide-ranging variety of interests and passions.

He grew up in Loveall’s Garage, his father’s auto shop, in Detroit. It was there his lifelong passion for cars began. Over his lifetime he restored hundreds of American classic automobiles, particularly those from the 1940s and 1950s, winning countless auto shows.

Jack L. Loveall with former U.S. President Barack Obama on the golf course in 2018.

He was an avid golfer with an extraordinary short game. He shot his age or lower every year from the age of 78 for the rest of his life. He seldom lost a wager or missed a long putt, even while battling those “evil little bastards” as he referred to the cancer cells.

Jack had a marvelous sense of humor and loved telling jokes as much as hearing them; he laughed heartily doing both.

Jack enjoyed being on the water with his family on their boat, Desperado. He loved music, movies, food, wine and traveling. He went cliff-jumping in his 50s, earned his pilot’s license in his 60s, drove a Formula race car and taught himself to play the ukulele in his 70s and threw the first pitch in a Major League Baseball game in his 80s.

‘Success Favors the Prepared’

Jack had a voracious appetite for life, devouring both its challenges and its joys. His approach to all aspects of life is reflected in his mantra: “Success Favors the Prepared. Plan Your Work; Work Your Plan.”

Jack and Patricia had seven children, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Their home was also a gathering place for neighboring children. It is in this spirit the Loveall Foundation for Children was founded to honor them. The Foundation is an all-volunteer charity providing meaningful opportunities for children to overcome challenges, live better lives and reach their full potential. The charity has raised and contributed millions of dollars for this mission since its creation in 1997.

Jack was a man who charted a course through which countless souls have benefitted, a natural mentor and fierce champion for working people.

He believed deeply in the power of solidarity and was enormously proud of what he had built as a father and a leader. He loved and mastered his life. He gave and created so much for so many to be grateful. He lived a profound life worth celebrating.

His memory and legacy will be kept alive by those who use his lessons and beliefs as their guideposts to build better families, better communities and a better world, loving and being kind to one another.

When taking special care of those we find ourselves privileged and able to serve, we will honor his nature. When we stand steadfast in the courage of our convictions, we will honor his spirit.

Jack is as alive today as he ever was. His spirit and light are in all who knew and loved him. Together we are a righteous and powerful force for good.

Always remember this, Jack sure did: Solidarity Works!

In lieu of flowers in Jack’s memory, the family requests contributions in his name be made to the Loveall Foundation for Children online at LoveallFoundation.org.

Share A Memory

Jack touched so many lives. If you have a memory or photo of Jack or lesson learned from him, we would love to hear from you. You can also text photos or short videos to (916) 562-1578 or send a link for us to download the photos/video to rsvp[at]thewayofjack.org.

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