Jack Edward Saylor thought he might live forever, but Father Time finally caught up with him, and he passed away in the wee hours of the morning Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, at the grand age of 98. He was at home, in Wilson, wrapped up in love from his family and caregivers.
A celebration of his life was held today at First Presbyterian Church in Wilson, with the Rev. Dr. Tom Watkins officiating.
Born and raised in the Old Salem district of Winston-Salem Oct. 15, 1920, Jack grew up with a rowdy gang of friends who made the most of their youth, always seeking ways to make mischief with as much creativity as they could muster. As a young man, he loved playing sports, swimming, dancing and dating pretty women, both in the United States and abroad when he served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He met the love of his life, Doris Winebarger of Germanton, and they were married June 9, 1954. Together they raised their three children and were active in Ardmore Moravian Church in Winston-Salem.
During his long career with Export Leaf Tobacco Co., Jack was transferred from Winston-Salem to Wilson in 1976, and they embarked on a new chapter. After his retirement, Jack and Doris created and managed The Curiosity Shop and the Wilson Antique Mall, and they worked in the antique business for several years before retiring.
By the time Jack was well into his 80s, he discovered his abiding passion as a bona fide gym rat. For the rest of his life, he spent most of his time volunteering with the Wilson Family YMCA and the Wilson County Senior Center, where he taught a popular aerobics class, often training as many as 40 individuals in a single class. He showed many seniors how to achieve a better quality of life and have fun doing it.
Jack wants to make sure people remember him, and he leaves behind an enormous footprint that won’t easily be filled. He was featured in the “Tar Heel Traveler” series on WRAL, in the News & Observer, and in the Wilson Times for his work and volunteerism in health and fitness. Last year, a film crew interviewed him about his service in World War II, and that video will be submitted to the Library of Congress American Folk Life Center Veterans History Project.
Jack is survived by his children, Jack and Ann Saylor of Beaufort, Teri Saylor of Raleigh and Lisa and Andy Hutchinson of Wilson. He is also survived by his granddaughter, Shelby Elisabeth Smith of Wilson, whom he adored.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Doris Winebarger Saylor; parents, Simeon Lee and Pearl Fields Saylor; and sisters, Emily Alderman and Nell Flinchum.
Jack’s family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in his memory to the First Presbyterian Church of Wilson, 414 Sunset Road NW, Wilson, NC 27893, or the Wilson Family YMCA, 3436 C Airport Blvd., Wilson, NC 27896. Condolences may be sent to his home at 2204 Somerset Drive, Wilson, NC 27893.
Arrangements are by Joyners Funeral Home of Wilson. Condolences may be directed to Joyner’s Funeral Home at www.joyners.net.