Jack Edward Gilbert passed away peacefully Sept. 20, 2019, in Rocklin, Calif. Jack was born in Portland, Ore., March 30, 1941, to Alice and Richard Gilbert, both of north Portland.
With no background in the sport, in the late 1940s, his older brother Richard taught himself to ski at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood and passed this on to Jack in the early 1950s. Skiing would become a lifelong passion for Jack.
Jack attended Ockley Green Elementary School and Jefferson High School in Portland. After high school, he attended The College of the Americas in Mexico City, Pacific University and Clark College, where journalism and English were his focus. He continued to ski throughout these years, racing whenever he could.
In 1963, Jack moved on his own to Sun Valley, Idaho, to follow his passion. While in Sun Valley, he quickly established himself as a mainstay on the hill and in town with his great sense of humor and willingness to share a table and tell a story. Those days left a major impression on him!
Jack moved back to Portland in 1965, and when a snowstorm shut down skiing for the day at Timberline Lodge, he met Sandra Teed in the Blue Ox Bar. In 1967, the two decided to move back to Sun Valley to ski and make lifelong friends. Jack and Sandra were married in Elko, Nev., the closest justice of the peace at the time. Jack worked at Pete Lane’s, Louie’s Pizza and Michel’s Christiania. Jack was also an early employee at Scott USA. He was a member of the Sun Valley Ski Club as well as the National Guard in Hailey. He would consider these some of his favorite times.
In 1970, his first child, Andrew, was born in Moritz Hospital in Sun Valley. The story goes that Scotty from Scott USA filled the nursery at the Gilbert house with toys, while he made Jack work the day after the birth, so he could come home to find the toys. In 1973, Jack was asked by Scott USA to move to Torrance, Calif., to run a distribution warehouse. It was short-lived (too far from the mountains), and the family moved back to Portland, Ore. In 1974, Jack began working in the ski industry on the retail side, as a manager at the Mountain Shop. 1975 saw the birth of a daughter, Dinah.
Jack passed his love of skiing on to his family with many years of trips to Mount Hood and Mount Bachelor for races and free skiing throughout the late ’70s and ’80s, as well as trips to Sun Valley for skiing and summer vacations into the ’90s. As the years passed, Jack continued to work in the ski industry as the owner of his own shop (a lifelong ambition), ULLR Ski and Sport in the Gateway area in Portland, and as an industry rep for several brands. He never lost his connection to Sun Valley, and his friendships in the area remained a constant source of pride for him.
Jack and Sandra split in the mid-’90s after the kids had moved on to their afterschool lives. Jack continued to work as a sales rep travelling the Northwest. In the late ’90s he met Bonnie Baker, introduced by mutual friends from the landmark Alibi in North Portland, and they began dating long distance, as she lived in Napa, Calif. Jack eventually moved to California, and he and Bonnie were married May 4, 2002. Jack inherited Bonnie’s amazing family with daughter and son-in-law Cheryl and Matt McBeth and their children, son Cameron and daughter Kelsey. The kids knew Jack as “Grandpa Jack” and he treated them as just that, his grandkids! Jack and Bonnie enjoyed their time in the wine country, where Jack worked as the tour guide for Schramsberg Vineyards in Napa, Calif., a job suited to his great story-telling. They retired in Lincoln, Calif., to be closer to the grandkids. Jack, as always, made friends easily and settled into the move in no time. They travelled to Hawaii, the Northwest and Sun Valley many times. Cameron’s and Kelsey’s high school careers were a particularly favorite thing; they attended Rocklin High School football games, where Cameron was a standout on the team and Kelsey was on the cheerleading squad. He spoke of this fondly and is survived there by his daughter, Cheryl, her husband, Matt, and grandkids Cameron and Kelsey.
Jack had grandkids in Sun Valley as well—Angus and Olive, who, like their grandfather, are keeping the winter sports tradition alive. He visited several times over the years, which was always a great source of excitement for him. Jack is survived there by son Andy his wife, JaNessa, and grandkids Angus and Olive. Jack is also survived by daughter Dinah of north Portland and his brother, Richard Gilbert, of Vancouver, Wash.
You will be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t have a fond memory of Jack Gilbert. He floated between many different rooms in his life, but he always made the room livelier! He always had a story, a joke or a memory. He would crush you at trivia, but educate you along the way. He was the record keeper of our family, and passed it down to all of us. He loved his experiences and we loved experiencing him! He was an original! Godspeed, Jack Gilbert!