JOHN LAURENCE John Laurence "Jack" Rust was born in Bloomington, Illinois in 1925 and passed away on July 8, 2012. He was preceded in death by his parents Laurence A. Rust and Bernice Brown Rust; stepmother Mary Franklin Rust; and his two brothers, Laurence A. Rust Jr. and David E. Rust. He is survived by his loving wife of 42 years, Donna; children, Julia Bowdich (Ray, deceased), Jane Janke (Bill), Amy Donohue (James), Kevin Contreras, and John D. Rust. He is also survived by his ten fabulous grandchildren, Glenn Janke, Jodie Maguire (Michael), Erin Stephens (Adam), Tom Donohue, Justin Rust, John Donohue, Sullivan Contreras, Kelsey Rust, McCailey Contreras and Teryn Zeleny also, brother-in-law Ron Kinnard and wife, Nancy and devoted canine pal, Rosie. Graduating in 1943 from Bloomington High School, he enlisted in the Army and later received his West Point appointment. At West Point, Jack became a Cadet Captain and company commander. He played football and lacrosse and was named to All-American lacrosse team in 1947, 1948 and 1949. He was inducted into the Army Sports Hall of Fame in 2009. After graduating 1949, Jack served in the 6th Armored Cavalry in Europe. He resigned his commission to go into business while continuing to serve in the United States Army Reserve and retired as a colonel in 1985. Jack's love affair with New Mexico began in 1960 with an offer from Caterpillar Tractor to take over the dealership from R. L. Harrison. He expanded the territory to include all of New Mexico and West Texas. For over 42 years, Jack successfully led Rust Tractor Company with passion, integrity and love of his customers and business partners, including over 400 employees. His quietly applied leadership skills, his ever-considerate demeanor and his thoughtful direction in remarkably diverse responsibilities were appreciated by all ranks, sectors, and personages. Jack led a life of effective leadership and meaningful service. The generous spirit of "Happy Jack," as he is affectionately known to his family has been exemplified by his many charitable contributions. In 1965, he led the first one million dollar campaign for the United Way. Jack and Donna have been leading philanthropists in this community, making a variety of carefully considered gifts to such key New Mexico institutions as Presbyterian Hospital, Albuquerque Community Foundation, UNM, CNM and NDI-NM. A central theme of many of these gifts has been to enhance the education, health and ethical climate of our state. At the dedication of the Presbyterian Rust Medical Center it was noted that, "Everywhere they go, Jack and Donna Rust improve the lives of others." In the spirit of giving back to the community that has been so good to him and his family, Jack Rust was a man of action. Always a team player, he not only jumped in but enlisted other friends and community leaders to join forces to create opportunities for the betterment of others. He set the bar for many men and many companies. He was an All-American in mind, heart and spirit. His unwavering ethics, leadership and courage were appreciated by the many boards that he founded and served on throughout the years. Rest in peace Jack Rust, you were a dedicated family man, a world-class fly fisherman, a strong soldier, an old school business man, a baby whisperer, a lover of chocolate chip cookies, a collector of abandoned golf balls, a champion gin rummy player, and a man of great integrity. You left the world a better place than you found it and will be missed by a great many people. In sum and in short, Jack Rust's life was a remarkable manifestation of his beloved West Point's maxim: "Duty, Honor, Country." A memorial service will be announced. In lieu of flowers, donations may sent to Presbyterian Health Care Foundation, The Rust Assistance Fund at CNM, or NDI-NM.
Published on: Tue July 10, 2012