US Navy

Jack Louis Massell

September 2, 1925 ~ October 1, 2018 (age 93)


Jack L. Massell, 93, of Urbana passed away at 9:40 p.m. on Monday, October 1, 2018 at Champaign Urbana Nursing and Rehab in Savoy, surrounded by family.

Graveside services will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, October 8, 2018 at Woodlawn Cemetery, Urbana. Nathan Montgomery will officiate. Military Rites will be performed by the American Legion # 71 and the United States Navy Color Guard.

Jack was born in Peoria, IL on September 2, 1925 to parents Silvio and Anna (Bigham) Massell. They preceded him in death. Also preceding him in death were his brother Carl Massell, half-brother DeDe Massell and half-sister Raffalene Palmasano.

On June 18, 1949 Jack married Susanne L. Hawkins at the First Methodist Church in Champaign, she survives. Also surviving are their children; Penny Massell (Thomas Harnsberger) of Urbana, Michael Massell (Shelley) of Cedar Rapids, IA and Mark Massell (Kimberly) Crete, IL. Jack is also survived by six grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Jack attended school in Peoria until the age of sixteen when he moved with his father to Chicago. He started a machinist apprenticeship where his father worked, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad until he was drafted into the military service of WWII.

His naval training took him to Hawaii and then he was assigned to the air craft carrier “U.S.S. Bataan CVL 29” serving in the Pacific Theater until the end of the war. He was in Tokyo Bay at the time of the signing of the peace treaty (on his 20th birthday). The U.S.S. Bataan was featured in Life Magazine on Oct. 22, 1945, one of the first ships to sail through the Panama Canal after the war and allowed to be photographed.

After being honorably discharged Jack returned to Chicago and enrolled under the G.I. Bill at Chicago Tech College for refrigeration and air conditioning maintenance. After completing the program he was hired by the Philco Refrigeration School to instruct enlisted men on Okinawa on how to service and repair all types of refrigeration equipment.

Jack returned to Chicago working for South Refrigeration Service Company. He eventually bought the company and operated it until his retirement. After retiring he moved to the Urbana area. He was a member of the Pipefitters Union #597.

In 2011 Jack participated in an Honor Flight to Washington D.C. and was featured in the News-Gazette.

Memorial Contributions may be made to the Champaign County Humane Society or to Salt & Light. Condolences may be offered at


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Graveside Service
October 8, 2018

1:00 PM
Woodlawn Cemetery
1803 N. Coler Av.
Urbana, IL 61801

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