The obituary gives a fine overview of Jack’s remarkable career. He was the pre-eminent geologist for much of the land that John Wesley Powell first surveyed in the nineteenth century. Powell later established the United States Geological Survey, where Jack worked for his entire professional career. Sadly, the obit does not mention the work he did on his father’s books — designing a faux national forest for Fire, then mapping it; doing photography for US 40; and helping with field research at “Sheep Rock.” A modest man, Jack did not publicize these contributions to literature. But it is important to share this part of his distinguished legacy. It is also important to note that, like his father and mother, Jack chose public service over a potentially lucrative private career. In doing so, Jack, like many of his and my generation, modeled an excellent example of working virtuously for the public good.
At the moving conclusion of Earth Abides, Ish hands his Hammer to Jack. In the same way, when George R. Stewart died, he left the Hammer of Ish to his son, Jack. That symbolic act shows the importance of our friend and colleague, Jack Stewart.