May he rest in peace
Jack Lord, was a man emblematic of faith, courage, and unconditional love, passed away on Veteran’s Day. His legacy, profoundly marked by an unwavering devotion to God, his country, and his family, continues to inspire those who knew him.
Family: The Heart of His World
Raised in White Plains, NY, Jack’s early years were deeply rooted in Italian traditions. He fondly remembered the times spent in his childhood home, where the aroma of Italian dishes lovingly prepared by his mother and grandmother filled the air. These memories of family and heritage remained a source of enduring joy and comfort throughout his life.
Jack Lord’s life was deeply intertwined with his family, the center of his universe. His wife, Kimberly Gaisford Lord, was a personification of grace, loveliness, and kindness. With an extraordinary ability to connect with anyone, Kimberly made life-long friends wherever she went. Born in Oakland, California, she was a performer from a young age and pursued her passion for voice and acting in New York City in her 20s. It was in New York where she met Jack, marking the beginning of their lifelong journey together. They married in 1982, and their family grew with the birth of their daughter, Samantha in 1984, and their son, Kelly, four years later.
Kimberly’s career as a professional singer and actress was distinguished by leading roles in major theaters from New York to San Francisco and international concerts. Apart from her devotion to her family, music was Kimberly’s life. She enjoyed every aspect of it, from directing a children’s choir and writing her own songs to performing on stage. Music was her way of contributing to the world, hoping to brighten others’ lives through her art. Sadly, Kimberly’s life was cut short at the age of 56 due to complications from cancer, leaving an indelible mark on those who knew her. She passed away in their home in Kansas City, Missouri, in July 2008.
Jack’s love for Kimberly was profound and reflected in every facet of his life. He took immense pride in her accomplishments, producing her two studio albums, with her Christmas album being a particular favorite that he played every year. Jack often shared her music with friends, family, and even strangers, a testament to his admiration and love for her talent.
In their family life, Jack was an involved and loving father, cherishing moments playing baseball with Kelly and taking Samantha to gymnastics. His commitment to providing a nurturing and fulfilling life for his children and wife was paramount. He ensured their home was enriched with high-quality organic food, the finest music, art, and dance teachers, and a plethora of activities with family and friends. Jack and Kimberly’s shared commitment to their children’s education led them to homeschool Samantha and Kelly until they reached college, fostering a close-knit and loving family environment.
Jack’s dedication to his family was matched by his dedication to Kimberly. His unwavering support as her constant cheerleader and champion was evident in their shared life filled with music, love, and family. This deep connection and shared life journey remained a defining aspect of Jack’s life, even after Kimberly’s passing, leaving a legacy of love, music, and family that continued to resonate.
Tragically, Jack faced the profound loss of his son, Kelly, a Sergeant First Class in the Army and the 2020 Fort Benning Drill Sergeant of the Year. Kelly’s untimely passing last year was a devastating blow to Jack, who had to muster immense strength to navigate this heartbreaking chapter of his life.
Triumph Over Adversity
Serving in the military was Jack’s basis for his love of country, and freedom, and where he first found his path to a relationship with God. Jack was very proud of his service as a Marine. His tenure in the Vietnam War, particularly during its two most intense years of fighting in 1968 and 1969, was a defining period of his life. At the young age of 18, he found himself in the midst of the conflict, spending over 400 consecutive days in the jungles of Vietnam, fighting for his life. His arrival coincided with the 3rd phase of the Tet Offensive, a crucial juncture of the war. This experience, while instilling a deep sense of patriotism and love for freedom, also left Jack with many lifelong scars, both seen and unseen.
Jack’s first earnest communication with God was a “fox hole prayer,” a desperate plea for safety and guidance mere moments before running across a field under machine gun fire in broad daylight. This moment marked the beginning of his deep and enduring relationship with God, fundamentally influencing his life thereafter.
Despite the profound challenges he faced during and after his service, including a battle with PTSD that haunted him for years, and the addiction to drugs and alcohol it fueled, Jack emerged with newfound strength and determination. He overcame these challenges, finding solace and peace in his faith and family life. This transformative journey allowed him to grow into a kinder, more patient individual, deeply devoted to his roles as a husband, father, and friend. His proud service as a Marine and his subsequent personal growth remained integral to his identity, profoundly impacting every aspect of his life.
Faith: His Guiding Light
Jack placed Christ first and foremost in his life in every way. He cared for people as best he knew how, as closely as he could to the love that Christ shared. Once he first came to faith, he never spent a day without studying and meditating over the words and teaching of Christ. He devoted his friendships, his time, his energy, his focus, and his life to serving God and Christ – and sharing that with those who were a part of his life. His daughter Samantha can’t remember a morning where she didn’t see him seated in the living room, or at the kitchen table, Bible in hand and deep in study. He learned how to love, and then he loved.
Jack’s unwavering Christian faith was the cornerstone of his existence. He immersed himself in religious studies. He could quote from the Bible, The Book of Mormon, A Course in Miracles, or the Constitution with equal ease. Inside the front cover of his well-worn and extensively noted King James Bible was a copy of the US Constitution, both equally noted with his thoughts, observations, and questions to find the answers to. His commitment to living a life reflective of Christ’s teachings was evident in his daily practices and interactions.
Jack attended and participated in numerous local churches in the Garden Valley. He was often to be seen with the Woodcutters ministry, preparing firewood for those in the community who needed the help. He has been described by members as one of the most faithful and hardworking members of that community ministry, at nearly every project and often there until the very end of the day.
A Man of Many Passions
Jack was a constant reader and an avid gardener, having carried the skill from his childhood and throughout his entire life. Most mornings he could be found sitting by the radio, either listening to the Kevin Miller talk radio program (and often calling in) or reading while classical music was playing in the background. Besides that, he could often be found chatting on the phone with many friends and acquaintances about anything ranging from the weather to politics and religion.
He loved a good movie with Bruce Willis or Harrison Ford in it, any movie with a happy ending, any movie where he could learn something, and any movies from the 90s that he watched with his children when they were younger. He particularly enjoyed the rom-coms that his daughter Samantha loved so much.
He had a soft spot for feel-good Hallmark shows and a lot of 80s and 90s long-running series. He watched the entirety of Kung-Fu several years ago, Little House on the Prairie several winters ago, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, and was working his way through a Hallmark series called Signed-Sealed-Delivered. He would rent movies and TV series from the local library and often had at least one documentary out on loan.
An Italian New Yorker at heart he always enjoyed pizza, pasta, and a good loaf of bread, and one of his favorite sayings was, “It’s a piece a cake, a piece of crumb cake.”
Jack was a voracious reader, and his home was filled with books. He had strong opinions, and many opinions that others disagreed with to varying degrees. But he never came to a conclusion without doing a lot of reading, researching, and thinking on the subject. Most of all he deeply cared for the people in his life. He thought of his loved ones constantly, and even when they didn’t like it, he always did his best to care for them.
As we bid goodbye to Jack Lord, we remember a man who lived his life in service to God, his country, and his loved ones. His journey through life’s highs and lows, his unshakeable faith, and his boundless love for his family will forever be cherished and remembered.