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Friends Say Gregory Jack had a 'Big Heart'

Published On: Mar 21 2014 10:09:52 PM AKDT   Updated On: Mar 21 2014 10:18:02 PM AKDT

Gregory Jack will be missed by those who knew him.


Anchorage police identified the man found dead Thursday morning near Bean's Cafe and Brother Francis Shelter as Gregory Jack.

Bean's Cafe officials say Jack volunteered for the organization for the last 20 years and made it his priority to help wherever he was needed.

Lisa Sauder, Bean's executive director, says Jack "always had a smile on his face."

Friends say he had friends and family in the Bethel area, and was often described as an"uncle" to many both figuratively and literally.

Lenora Popo, a volunteer at Bean's. says she knew Jack for the last seven years and will greatly miss him.

"He was the littlest guy that I ever met with the biggest heart," Popo said.

Popo says Jack stepped in to help whenever he could, and even assisted when she had difficulty with a client -- even one who was bigger than himself.

"Jack had my back, out of nowhere and told the client the rules and regulations of Bean's Cafe and the client just kind of stood there in shock -- because he's like yay high to me, and this guy was way above here," Popo said. "He had no hesitation to tell anybody what the rules were."

Sauder says it will be difficult to visit the kitchen at Bean's knowing he won't be there anymore.

"He was really kind of our master of filleting salmon and cutting up salmon steaks," Sauder said.

Sauder says Jack seemed to always know what to do to help.

"I always jokingly called him the Energizer Bunny because it seemed like he was always moving," Sauder said. "He was one of those client volunteers that you never had to ask him to do something."

Jack also lived at Karluk Manor for the past two years, and had recently celebrated his 59th birthday. Kenny Scollan, division manager for the supportive housing division at Karluk Manor operator RurAL CAP, says he had also purchased a brand new La-Z-Boy chair for his room.

"He was so happy about getting his chair that he was going to use it as a bed and not sleep in his bed anymore," Scollan said. "It was electric and it folded up and down."

Jack never had an opportunity to sit in his new chair.

"He left at about 6 o'clock (Wednesday) and said he would see everybody later and the next thing we heard was that he had passed," Scollan said.

"We love him and we miss him," Sauder said.

Jack's cause of death was unknown as of Friday. APD says it's found no obvious signs of foul play.