John “Jack” Lawrence Albert was born on March, 1, 1924 in Chicago, IL to Arthur “A. L.” Albert and Mazie (Campbell) Albert. He grew up in Cedar Rapids, IA, and attended Arthur Elementary and Franklin Jr. High School. He then attended Western Military Academy in Alton, IL and the University of Iowa where he was a member of the Beta Theta Phi fraternity. He enlisted in the United States Navy in 1943 and transferred to the Army Air Corps during WWII. At the close of the war, Jack was stationed in Japan, facilitating injured US POWs returning to the states for medical care. After leaving the Army, Jack returned home to Cedar Rapids to work at the family business.
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On September 21, 1950, he was united in marriage to Elizabeth “Betty” (Blaul) Albert. The couple became second-generation owners/operators of Albert’s Cleaners and Prince Albert Formal Wear in 1956. Before, during and after transitioning the family business to his son, Jack dabbled in the ownership of a variety of other businesses in Cedar Rapids. He quite honestly could be the creator of the phrase “Jack of all trades.” Jack was the owner of the Richard Bennet franchise, which sold tailored men’s clothing; the Bosch boat franchise; and he owned the franchise rights for the Dairy Queen in Europe. He owned car washes; Street Treats, a multi-state mobile ice cream business; and was the first foreign car dealer in Iowa. It is no secret that Jack loved cars, boats and airplanes. He enjoyed talking about them in detail with everyone he met. Throughout his life, Jack prided himself in owning high-end cars and often flew to Italy to pick up his cars directly from the factory.
Some of Jack’s other enjoyments in life included entertaining the U.S.A.F. Thunderbird Flight
Team at his home in Cedar Rapids, and serving on the airport commission in Cedar Rapids and
Marshall. As a boy, Jack was introduced to golf as a caddy for members of the Cedar
Rapids Country Club. He became an avid golfer, claiming the title of club champion one year and played until he reached the young age of 92. Jack was also a worldwide traveler, who enjoyed a good excursion. He traveled all over the world, lived large, and was never short on stories to share from his many adventures. Give a listening ear, and you were Jack’s forever friend.
In 1977, the couple moved to LaCrosse, WI where they owned/operated Boulevard Cleaners until they retired and moved to Horseshoe Bay, TX in 1989. In 2002, they moved to Marshall to be closer to family, due to Betty’s health. For the past few years, Jack lived at Hill Street Place and loved spending time with others there. Jack died on Monday, January 28 at the Avera Morningside Heights Transition Unit where he was recovering from pneumonia.
Jack is survived by his children Deborah Albert of Dubuque, IA, John (and Janet) Albert Jr. of
Cedar Rapids, IA and Susan Strautz of Marshall, MN; grandchildren Christopher (and Andrea)
Strautz of Moorhead, Nicholas (and Anne) Strautz of Shakopee, Laura Skovlund (and Zach) of
Fargo, John Albert and Lauren Albert of Cedar Rapids, IA; and great-grandchildren Brennan Strautz, Cailin Strautz, Rosalie Strautz and Hadley Skovlund. He is also survived by fourteen nieces and nephews, and special family friends Virginia Busch and Tom Sawchak. Jack was preceded in death by his parents A.L. and Mazie Albert, wife Elizabeth, brother and sister-in-law Richard and Neva Albert, and son-in-law Steve Strautz.
The family wishes to express their heartfelt appreciation for the excellent care Jack received through Wild Rose/Touching Hearts especially Wendy and Rue. In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to Prairie Home Hospice or the Tracy Area Animal Rescue (Jack loved his dogs).