ARCADIA, MO — Jack Longacre, 64, founder and president of the national Highpointers Club died on Oct. 15, 2002, near his home on Taum Sauk highest point of Missouri after a long bout with cancer.
Jack made the claim that he was the highest living person in Missouri.
“Jack’s passing is a huge blow to the climbing community,” Highpointers Club Chairman Roger Rowlett said from New York City. “Jack gave purpose and direction to a group of climbers who seek out the geographic extremes of each state.”
“Jack had a way of making it all fun,” Rowlett said. “Mountaineers participating in the hobby had an almost religious adoration of Jack. He was nicknamed ‘Guru’ because of his wisdom.”
Jack founded the Club in 1986 after sending a letter to “Outside” Magazine. Six people responded and they got together to climb Michigan’s highest point Mount Arvon in 1987 after it was determined to be a few inches higher than the previously thought highpoint of Mount Curwood.
Since then the Club has grown to 2,500 members in all 50 states and nine countries. He started a quarterly journal “Apex to Zenith” which is now published from the Club’s headquarters in Golden, Colorado.
Jack was the seventh person to achieve the ultimate goal — standing on the summits of all 50 states. Since then more than 100 people have accomplished this.
Following Sept. 11, 2001, Club members carried the U.S. flag to the summits of each state and presented a memorial of this accomplishment at Ground Zero.
The Club has a long range plan to hold its annual convention at the highest point of each state. Jack summited Black Mesa, Oklahoma, just three weeks before his death during a convention there. Jack also hosted a convention on Taum Sauk in 1999.
He wishes to have his ashes spread on each of the state summits.
Jack was born on January 8, 1938, in Sturgis, Michigan. He worked for 12 years at Weyerhaeuser in White Pigeon, Michigan, then moved to Seattle Washington where he worked for Boeing and became enthralled with climbing after joining the Mountaineers there. After retiring he moved first to Mountain Home, Arkansas, where he founded the Highpointers Club and began publishing its journal.
Wanting to be closer to Club members, he bought a house on the approach to Taum Sauk, Missouri, where he was a fixture of state summiters and visitors on the Ozark Mountain Trail. Virtually all visitors to Taum Sauk on County Road CC passed his various highpointing signs including one noting that he picked up the trash. Prior to his death he was negotiating to build a “National Museum of Highpointing” on his property on Taum Sauk.
Jack, an active member of the St. Louis Sierra Club, was instrumental in the successful 2001 campaign to stop a pumped storage electrical facility near Taum Sauk that would have flooded the creeks at the state’s highest point.
Jack’s highpointing memoirs “Keep Klimbin'” is scheduled to be published this winter by Jack Grauer Publishing in Vancouver.
He is survived by one daughter Lorrie Longacre Krontz of Middlebury, Indiana, one son, Lonnie Longacre of Southbend, Indiana, a brother, David Hendricks of Centerville, Michigan, one sister, Edith Hooker of White Pigeon, Michigan, his former wife Sharon Kesslar of Middlebuy, Indiana, 8 grand children, 3 great grand children and a world of friends.
A memorial service will be held Friday, October 25 at 1 p.m. at the River of Life Fellowship at Middlebury, Indiana.
A memorial service in celebration of Jack’s life will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday November 16, 2002. All highpointers are welcome. Meet at the Fort Davidson Motel & Restaurant on Road V near Highway 21 in Ironton, Missouri.