Jack was born in Oak Park, Illinois to John J. and Bernice Cross. He grew up in Winchester, Kentucky and married Mimms Stevenson in 1952. After graduation from the University of Kentucky, where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity, he was commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, and he and Mimms spent two years in Germany while he was in the service.
Jack joined the IBM Corporation in 1955 in Louisville Kentucky. He was a top data processing salesman and in recognition of that he won a trip for himself and his wife to the Brussels World Fair in 1957. He joined the Citizens Fidelity Bank in 1961, charged with computerizing bank operations. While there he and a banker friend developed a plan for Social Security checks to be deposited directly into an individual's bank account. This was called "The Louisville Plan" and was successful there and was then adopted nationally by the Federal Reserve Bank. In 1974, Jack joined the First National Bank of
Atlanta as Senior Vice President for Operations and moved his family to Atlanta. He became Chairman of the American Bankers Association Operations Committee in 1976 and traveled throughout the U.S, in that role.
Jack left the Bank in 1979 to begin a career investing in apartments, forming Harmony Properties Inc. in 1986 with Richard James and his son Tom Cross. His youngest son Bill joined the company in 1987. Harmony Properties specialized in buying and renovating older properties and eventually purchased 19 apartment properties with 2204 units, 17 of which were managed by Harmony Properties.
Jack was a member of the Kiwanis Club of Atlanta for 44 years and served on the Kiwanis Foundation Board for many years. He supported the United Way as an Ivan Allen Society member and worked on the United Way's Planned Giving initiative. He was also a long-time supporter of The Carter Center. He was a member of Turtle Creek Club in Tequesta, Florida and a former member of the Piedmont Driving Club.
He was married to Mimms Stevenson for 34 years and they had four children.
Mimms died of cancer at the Mayo Clinic in 1986. In 1987, Jack married Claire Armentrout, a partner at J.C. Bradford & Co., who lived in Nashville, TN.
Jack enjoyed golf, bridge, and travel. He and Claire traveled throughout the world on cruises and land trips. Their travel highlight was a trip around the world in 1999.
Jack loved his entire family and one of the ways he expressed that love was by organizing and hosting many fun beach vacations for his family and the families of his siblings. Jack dealt courageously with Alzheimer's Disease in his last years. He was sweet and cheerful to the end. A lifelong Catholic, he lived his strong faith. Jack will be remembered for his love, kindness, generosity and wisdom.
He is survived by his devoted wife Claire, four children--John J. Cross III (Meredith) of Milford, CT, and Thomas Cross (Janet), Mildred Spalding (John) and William Cross (Lynn) of Atlanta, GA, eight grandchildren, including Joseph Cross (Rachel), Mimms, Thomas, and Charlie Cross, Jack Spalding and Holly Spalding (Matt), and Mimi Cross and Henry Cross (Lily), two great grandchildren Leland and Mae Cross, his sister Charlene Baumgarten (Harry) and 13 nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his brother James L. Cross and his sister Maureen Ramsey.
A funeral Mass will be held at Holy Spirit Catholic Church on Saturday, December 9 with visitation at 9 am and the Mass at 10 am to be followed by interment at Arlington Memorial Park, Sandy Springs. There will be a Celebration of Life at the Lenbrook Retirement Community, 3747 Peachtree Road NE, at 11 am on Saturday, January 20 with a reception to follow.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the United Way of Greater Atlanta, 40 Courtland St. NE, Suite 300, Atlanta, GA. 30303