Jack “Papa” Kenneth Sassaman (3/15/1946 - 5/20/2020)
"Papa, Papa, Papa!" "Yes, my honey?” This was his classic response for each of his 6 grandchildren when they wanted his attention - patient, all ears, with a huge smile, awaiting their every word. Papa paid attention to every word that each of them would share at rapid, kid-pace. When not entertaining his grandkids, Jack was devoting his time, energy, and love to Jane, his wife of 48 years, and his children Jennifer, Jack Jr., and Jeffrey. Jack eventually found his way to his passion and calling to serve in nearly every capacity imaginable in the VFW. As an Army veteran of the Vietnam War, Jack worked tirelessly to revive the VFW and bring it back to its previous state of glory and honor and further share the services and honor brought forth by the tradition and prestige of the VFW. Jack, Daddy, Pop, Papa was beloved by all who knew him, and he most certainly reciprocated that love and adoration for all lives that he touched.
Jack grew up in Phillipsburg, NJ where he learned how to use his cute smile and blue eyes to get him out of his rebellious troubles. Those ever-so-enticing gray areas of youthful joy became order-following rigidity when he was drafted into the Army after only a short stint at college. After being drafted as a Private, he quickly rose to the rank of Sgt. in the Third US Army, 6th Bn, 1st Infantry, Signal Corp. Because of his leadership skills and ability to see solutions to problems that others may not, he naturally assumed a leadership role, not only having to care for his own life, but being charged with the heavy task of leading and protecting others. Jack returned to civilian life in 1968, enrolling at Rider College. Soon after enrollment, the next step in his life path came to fruition when he met his future wife, Jane. After their first successful date, Jack flashed those blue eyes and that smile, and left Jane with the choice as to whether she wanted a second date. He obviously realized that the eyes and smile still worked their youthful magic, because less than four years after that date, Jack and Jane were married in 1972.
Jack, with Jane every step of the way, navigated multiple jobs, career paths, states to live in, and homes to establish. Jack and Jane established their home in Randolph where they lived the life they had always wanted and never longed for anything more. They found strength in each other and strength in their families and friends. Jack also found strength in his church in Iowa and at Union Hill Presbyterian in Denville where he served as an Elder and as the usher for over 25 years, making sure every member of the congregation knew where to sit. They raised three children who all now have children of their own. They have always surrounded themselves with love, family, religion, and friends, affording them ample opportunities to share, spread, and receive all the love, gratitude, and wealth of a purposeful life. Jack left this Earth far too soon and far too sudden, but we know he will indeed be continuing the work he has always done.
Jack/Papa is survived by his wife, Jane; his children, Jennifer, Jack Jr., and Jeffrey; his grandchildren (in birth order): Jack III, Piper, Walter V, Casey, Juliana, and Zoe. His memory will live on forever in our hearts and in all that he touched as he did God’s work here on Earth.
A celebration of life will take place this summer when all and everyone can gather without any restrictions. Please check Tuttle Funeral Home’s website (www.tuttlefh.com) for update.
In lieu of sending flowers, please feel free to send donations to either:
Union Hill Presbyterian Church
427 Franklin Rd.
Denville, NJ 07834
Randolph VFW Post 7333
103 Carrell Rd.
Randolph, NJ 07869
Thank you, and God bless you for being a part of Jack's life.