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Jackie Frank Wade

April 15, 1934 ~ November 4, 2021 (age 87)


Jackie Frank Wade, 87, passed away on November 4, 2021 at his home in Colorado.

Jack was the youngest of three children of Enlow and Lucille Wade of San Augustine, Texas.  He was preceded in death by his wife, Jane, in 2008.  He is survived by his brother, Robert E Wade, and his sister, Nina Sue Lindsey, both of Victoria, Texas, his daughters, Debbie (Mark) Billingslea of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Dana (Marc) Levy of Lone Tree, Colorado, and son, Stephen Wade of Phoenix, Arizona, along with ten grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.   

Jack graduated from San Augustine High School in 1950 at the age of 16.  He lettered in football, basketball, baseball and track.  He had an insatiable thirst for knowledge as demonstrated by the various colleges and universities he attended including Stephen F. Austin, Texas A&M and Colorado School of Mines.  His studies were focused on the sciences; Physics, Mathematics and Chemistry sprinkled in with several History courses.  He earned a Bachelor’s Degree, a Master’s Degree and worked on his PhD.  He was a lifelong learner and had a brilliant mind.

Jack was in the U.S. Army, 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  It was there he met the love of his life, Jane Whitaker, a nursing school student.  They married on September 2, 1956 and were married for 51 years.

Jack's occupation was as an Aerospace Engineer.  He began his career at Texas Instruments and then a job offer at Martin Marietta brought Jack and his family to Littleton, Colorado in 1966.  He worked at Martin for 10 years and then moved on to Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colorado, in 1976 to finish out his career.  His interest in space was enduring.  His career included the scientific design of the Hubble Telescope, development of Skylab, and participation in the Space Shuttle Program.  Jack was present for the historic launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia.  Columbia carried dozens of astronauts into space during the next two decades.  The shuttle ushered in a new era of reusable spacecraft.  Jack's dream in life was to become an astronaut and when a childhood injury to one of his eyes prevented that, he did the next best thing and became an extraordinary engineer.

Jack volunteered as a Shriner’s clown, Sparkles, even while still working a full time job.  He participated in many parades and circuses.  Later, in his retired years, he became Mr. Raggs and blew up balloons and shaped them into animals.  Jack brought much joy to children everywhere. 

Special thanks to New Century Hospice of Castle Rock, his nurse, Cherisse, and CNA, Benn, along with Jack's oldest grandson, Craig Gonzales, for their loving care for him in his last days.  It is our belief that Jack knew he was loved until the very end.  

Donations in memory of Jack can be made to:

Shriner's Hospitals for Children

2900 Rocky Point Dr., Tampa, FL  33607

or online at

Wounded Warrior Project

4899 Beltfort Rd  Suite 300, Jacksonville, FL  32256 or online at

Private services are pending.


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