Memories of My Wonderful Friend Jack Nix


Dave Rounsaville

My first exposure to the 'mouth that roared' was at the 1/2A timer line at the 1969 Navy Nats at Willow Grove! I don't know who was louder, Carl Taylor, the California 'Canard man 'from thousand Oaks hollering at his son Eddie or Jack Nix from Smithtown, Long Island. Jack, in true fashion was 'riding herd' on his boys, John, Jeff & (maybe) Brian. Those boys always had great model flying success. They used to fly Bounty Hunters alot and held many records. Jack's 'whip' probably had a lot to do with that?

But I really got to know John Nix when I joined the Sky-Scrapers club in 1970 and made many long journeys out to Long Island after work on Fridays, typically returning home at all hours of the morning (sometimes even watching the sun rise)! I don't know how to sum up all our time together flying and sharing family stuff but I'll try. The late '60's saw Jack flying his Bilgri designed Raider to some success culminating in a trip to the Albuquerque finals in 1969 with the Scrapers support crew. Tom Kerr recently showed me a Sky-Scraper group photo with Tom, Jack and the Scrapers...Really Cool!.SO Young!
The early Seventies saw us flying at Galeville, a former training base with concrete runways between Newburg & New Paltz,NY Very Nice! I well remember those Semi Finals & FAI contests with Jim Kutkuhn, Don Crus and the Magnificent cigar toting Ed Luparelli! Ed made some beautiful Rossi engine pans which made their way on both Jack's & my FAI Power ships. We flew at Galeville through the late '80's & early '90's I think. Jack rarely missed a contest except when he had to go to Saudi Arabia in the mid 70's missing our 40th Club contest. We flew together often in ALL kinds of weather. Lots of cherished photo memories! Jeff's HS graduation in Smithtown. Brian's wedding was a Good Time too!

1994 was a tough year. Jack's oldest son John had a rare medicine reaction after a Fayette, NY contest and his health deteriorated to where he needed a liver transplant. John never got it and passed away at age 45. A terrible blow. Jack was never the same after that and who could blame him. I will never forget Jack's phone call when John passed away. I understood even more so when my kid brother Tim was taken from us at age 45 in 2003.

Jack started his own battle with prostate cancer sometime after that. He fought the good fight for a long time. One of my best Nats memories was to take Jack out for his July 24th Birthday dinner most every year. Typically at the Muncie LoneStar steakhouse. Even Nats camping one year with Jack, Maureen & Max the dog. I last talked to Jack in April this year. It was "Hi Jack" (never to be used at airports we used to kid) or "Hi Dahling" (our pet names for each other) It was a good talk and I sent him some recent photos. Next thing was the news at the recent Wawayanda Challenge that he had passed away. I was numb then and probably still am. I guess the lesson is to always stay close to the ones you love no matter where they are. "You never know the hour"

I couldn't possibly tell you all this man meant to me. We laughed & cried together. He was a Very Dear Friend of Mine and I will always try to carry a little bit of Jack with me...God Speed Dear Friend! Let's do a mass launch now! Ready, GO!

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