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Jack W. Harper, Jr.

  • On June 8, 2023

Jack W. Harper, Jr., 73, of Rosslyn Farms, passed peacefully on June 7, 2023, with his loving family members at his side.  Jack fought a courageous battle against lung cancer for almost three years.

Jack was preceded in death by his loving wife Mary Lou Donahoe, his parents, Jack W. Harper, Sr. and Doris Jane (Cutler) Harper and his sister Nancy Rich (Hank).  Survivors include; brother-in-law Dennis (Margaret) Donahoe, Sister-in-law Patricia (James) Carter, Sister-in-law Judith (Robert) McGinnis and the following nieces and nephews: D.J. (Kristy) Donahoe, Kelly (Edward) Buettner, James (Chrissie) Donahoe, Danny Donahoe, Kierstyn McGinnis (Tim) Cavanaugh, Elizabeth (Jasmine) McGinnis, Allison McGinnis, two great nieces, Alanna and Malia Cavanaugh; special cousin Mark (Janis) Potter, and many, many life-long friends including Rege Braun of Sunrise, FL and Jim Marsilio of Ingram.

He was born in Pittsburgh and spent his formative years living in Robinson Township, where he attended and graduated, Montour High School Class of 1968.  Jack received his undergraduate degree from Bucknell University in Engineering and his master’s degree, also in engineering, from Northwestern University.

After returning to Pittsburgh from the Chicago area, Jack served two of the region’s premier corporations for engineering services during his professional career.  He was first part of the U.S. Steel engineering department and then served many years for Michael Baker International, from where he retired in 2013.  Given Jack’s level of experience and expertise he was called upon to contribute to many important projects locally and internationally traveling to areas as diverse as Alaska and Abu Dhabi.

Jack was a lover of all outdoor sports and a superior athlete.  With wife Mary Lou he enjoyed traveling and biking the Montour Trail and trails of the Tri-State area.  From participating on the high school basketball and golf teams to his casual play with friends afterwards, Jack was always the consummate competitor in the field.  His excellent golf career that spanned over 50 years culminated with a hole-in-one at his beloved Moon Golf Club while playing with his Michael Baker league.  His close friends always enjoyed Jack’s presence but needed to be aware that the competitive “Harper temper” could flair at any moment.  Those occasions always ended in much laughter and self-deprecation.  Jack was always a treat when at play.

Jack’s greatest joy at sports were his very frequent fishing trips with his best buddies Rege Braun and George Lion.  These trips, constantly in the planning stages, were by plane to the remote wild lakes of various Canadian provinces.  There the boys proudly kept score of the size and quantity of their catches.

His talents as an engineer were expanded to his love for woodworking where he plied his talents for many home projects.  The greatest of these was a beautiful sewing room that he completed for the dear Mary Lou.  Complete with oak and mahogany molding and trim on all his beautiful pieces of furniture.

What we were all blessed with from Jack was his examples of generosity, kindness, perseverance and resiliency.  Cherished and loved as a family member and friend, Jack will be greatly missed.

Family and friends are welcome on Sunday, June 11th at Pittsburgh Cremation & Funeral Care facility, 5405 Steubenville Pike, Pittsburgh, PA, 15136 from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

In lieu of flowers the family suggest donations to the Montour Trail at montourtrail.org in the memory of Jack and Mary Lou Harper.

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Chrissy Lion
My late husband George Lion & I had the pleasure of spending time biking, white water rafting, & vacationing with Jack & Marylou. I called them our "athletic friends" .❤️ Jack & Mary Lou were great friends of ours. I hope Jacks enjoying a drink with George up there in the Canadian wilds reminiscing about the bear that hung around their camp during one of there most recent trips.
Ekundayo Olukemi
Jack Harper is in a better place now. He will be missed by everyone that knew him
Joe Tommarello
Jack and Mary Lou met in a photography class..she was grieving the loss of her beloved brother Ricky and decided to try a few things to try to move on a little as he would have wanted. Love, Engagement and marriage followed..and from then until her untimely early passing, he was so good to her and her family - full of unconditional love always. Brilliant, quiet, witty, caring, thoughtful, unselfish, generous.. all words that applied to Jack. When our Amy passed, he sat with mom, Mary Lou's godmother and Aunt Dolores, for a good while,comforting and listening to her grief, which meant so much to her (and me.) We thought of him often and sent cards thru his battle. After we're gone, we live on in the memory of others. The world needs more Jack Harpers!! Another little hole in our hearts-but filled with great memories of nephew and cousin Jack.