Jack Burson Lozier
Jack Burson Lozier was born the youngest of three on September 22, 1930, in the township of Braceville, Ohio, to Harvey and Florence Lozier. He was born at a time of hardship, in the first years of the Great Depression. Raised on a chicken farm, Jack and his family certainly faced the economic difficulties of living in this period of history. Farm families suffered more than others with their percent of received national income dropping from 15 percent in 1922 to just 9 percent by 1930. Jack did not enjoy growing up on a farm, so shortly after graduating from Salem High School in 1948, he left behind his two older sisters, his parents, and the chickens to join the Navy and explore the world.
In 1950, a few years after Jack enlisted, the U.S. began its involvement in the Korean War. The irony of this war is that most Americans had never even heard of Korea because it was not in the American defense perimeter. One can only imagine how Jack felt when he was told that he was going to contribute to such a war in such a foreign place. He was stationed on the USS Midway, located in the Mediterranean Sea. Although Jack did not see any action, he did enjoy his time away from home. He was discharged in ‘52 only to re-enlist in ‘54 because of the boredom he faced in civilian life back on the chicken farm. This time around, he was stationed on the USS Intrepid with tours in the Atlantic Ocean and again in the Mediterranean Sea.
Jack served a total of nearly seven years in the US Navy and was awarded some medals throughout this time, including a Navy Occupation Service Medal from Europe, a National Defense Service Medal, and a Good Conduct Medal from the US Navy.
After serving the second time, Jack decided to get a degree in biology at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, Colorado. He became a professor at Kentucky State University shortly after graduating and eventually made his way to the Black Hills of South Dakota to teach at Black Hills State University from 1969 until his retirement in 1995. Jack had a passion for the outdoors and he was able to transfer his passion into his work at BHSU as a professor of wildlife management. Outside of class, one might have found Jack out bird watching, biking, or hiking around the Black Hills. He hiked Crow Peak many times giving it his own nickname of “Mummy Mountain,” claiming that it looked like a mummy laying down if one looked at it from a certain angle. Once, as one of his great adventures, he even bicycled from his home in Belle Fourche to his daughter’s home in Idahoand back, a near 1,700-mile round-trip. Afterward, he said that he would never do anything like that again.
As a person who preferred nature over people, he spent much of his time outdoors and was a quiet, reserved individual in public. Although quiet, he was friendly with people and children. For instance, his neighbor’s two-year-old daughter would often catch tiny critters and run over to Jack and ask him to identify the creatures. He would give the girl its scientific name which would only add to her confusion, but she enjoyed these interactions with him all the same.
When he did socialize with others, it was preferably not on a Friday night because that was his beer drinking night. If he did have dinner at someone’s house, he would request that there be no chicken. Understandable, considering this request was coming from a man who grew up on a chicken farm.
Unfortunately, Jack suffered from a heart attack in 2009 and was given a pacemaker. While this sustained his life, it limited its quality for such an active nature-lover; during this time he was also suffering from the beginning stages of dementia. In 2010, he was placed in a nursing home where he spent the remainder of his life. This living situation, however, did not deter Jack’s spirit. He enjoyed the structure of life there, comparing it to an Air Force camp relating back to his time spent on both aircraft carriers. He also had a great view of the outdoors and would spend his time identifying chipmunks that would scamper outside the nursing home’s windows. Jack died three years later on September 10th, at the age of 82 in Belle Fourche, South Dakota, and is interred at Black Hills National Cemetery.
Jack was a generous man, donating two life insurance policies and two annuities with a sum of over $88,000 to his high school’s Alumni Association to recognize and award scholarships to Salem graduates.