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Obituary: John R. ‘Jack’ Alexander, Lantana, Fla.

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John R. “Jack” Alexander, also known as Jack Butze, 84, died Feb. 11, 2013. He was a resident of Lantana, Fla.

He was born Aug. 2, 1928, and raised in Franklin. He graduated from Franklin High School, where he wrote for the school newspaper.

After graduation, he served a year in Japan with the U.S. Army First Cavalry Division as part of the occupation forces following World War II. Jack attended Indiana University after completing his military duty.

Jack worked for the Franklin Evening Star in 1954 and 1955 and then followed his adventurous spirit to Florida, where he landed a position with the Times Publishing Co.

He spent seven years with the St. Petersburg Times and 10 years as the city editor for the St. Petersburg Evening Independent, the “People Paper.”

The following is an excerpt written by Jim Patrick, from his final edition put together by his co-workers at the time of his retirement.

“As someone who has worked with Jack Alexander since he first came to the Independent from the Times, it’s difficult for me to realize how it will be without his genial stabilizing influence in the newsroom. He’s truly a newspaperman’s newspaperman — a city editor without peer, a gentlemen and a leader of first rank.

“Jack has achieved much in his many years at the Independent, training and influencing the many, many reporters who have been fortunate to serve under him. His nose for news and bent for getting at the truth have become legendary not only in our own newsroom, but in newsrooms throughout the country where former Independent people have gone and excelled.

“I am indeed proud to say I have served with him not only as a reporter but as a copy editor and friend who will attest to Jack’s reputation as the finest city editor any place. We will greatly miss his excellent newspapering instincts, his likable camaraderie, his infectious enthusiasm for reporting in a feisty manner and his eagerness to give his best in the world of journalism. Some of us just move on, but Jack Alexander’s reputation will linger at the Evening Independent.”

Jack found he wasn’t ready for retirement and returned to work another 12 years for the Weekly World News and made his second retirement in 1995.

He was a fun guy and good friend to all he knew. He liked his poker games, the dog races and the ponies. He was a jokester and a clown, always managing to get a laugh. He was the first to admit he was not proud of some things he did in his early years but hoped he was forgiven and tried to mend his ways.

Jack was a good Christian, always questioning but never failing to believe. He belonged to the Palm Beach Baptist Church in Lake Worth, Fla.

We will miss Jack and all the humor, concern and thoughtfulness he brought to our lives. The conversations that went on for hours and about everything from who’ll win in the fourth race to the presidential election outcome. It was great fun.

He leaves behind his son, Rick; three grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. His daughter, Tracy, preceded him in death in 2005. He also is survived by his sister-in-law Doris and her three children; and the family of his brother Scott, who also preceded him in death.

Friends and family may gather from 3 to 6 p.m. Friday at the Franklin American Legion Post, 1200 Park Ave., to exchange memories of Jack.

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