James Jackson (Jack) Monaghan
July 20, 1921 – April 6, 2019
Col. James Jackson (USAR-retired) Monaghan. The patriarch of the Monaghan clan, Jack Monaghan passed away Saturday, April 6, 2019, in the ninety-eighth year of his life. Jack was above all else a devoted family man, inseparable from the love of his life, Wodie, with whom he celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary last August 31. Jack led Wodie and their six children, eleven grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and many family friends through innumerable adventures in wonderful locations throughout their lives together. Jack was ultimately a successful business man who persevered through the hard times in order to provide a wonderful life for his family and lifelong friends, sharing his love and camaraderie in wonderful vacation homes at Lock 4, Bowlegs Reef, and ‘Up Yonder.’ Jack was born July 20, 1921, at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham the fourth child of Bernard “Barney” Andrew Monaghan of East Troy, WI, and Mary Frances Jackson Monaghan of Greensboro, AL. Jack’s father died when Jack was five, so he and his older brother, the only surviving sibling, Barney Jr., became close and remained so until Barney died in 1987. Jack’s mother was a strong and independent woman who instilled in her sons the determination that both exhibited throughout their lives. Jack attended Ramsey High School in Birmingham, then St. Bernard Academy in Cullman, and finally L’Ecole des Roches in Normandy, France, where he graduated high school in 1939. The summer of ’39 included a tour of Europe which led him through Munich, Germany, to Denmark and other countries; an interesting and dangerous time to be there. Riding a tramp steamer home across the North Atlantic and down the St. Lawrence River capped off the trip, as Jack dined with the captain and listened to his stories of adventure on the seas. Jack attended college at the University of Alabama before transferring to The Citadel and enlisting in the Army as the United States became involved in World War II. Graduating in 1943, Jack completed Officer Training School and was assigned to Cannon Company, 317th Infantry, in Patton’s 3rd Army Division, where he served as forward observer, artillery. The unit served with distinction across France, with Jack first coming under enemy fire not far from places he had visited his senior year of high school. Jack was wounded and captured near Civry, France and spent the winter of ’44-’45 in German POW camp Oflag 64 at Schubin, Poland. Liberated by the Russian Army, Jack was transported across the Black Sea to Constantinople and finally to an American hospital in Cairo, Egypt. Jack joined the Army Reserves following the war and served in various units including a heavy tank battalion and the Special Forces. Jack was especially proud to be airborne qualified and to wear the green beret in the 20th Special Forces Group headquartered in Birmingham, where he served an its first executive officer. Jack retired as Colonel from the 87th MAC in 1971. Upon his return to the US, Jack was reintroduced to Wodie Coleman, eventually marrying August 31, 1945. Jack and Wodie lived in Dadeville, AL and Savannah, GA before returning to Birmingham, where they built a home and a family together. After a failed business venture in pressure-treated lumber, Jack worked at Moore Handley Hardware and Sears Roebuck before buying the Overhead Door Company of Birmingham in 1956. Ever the entrepreneur, Jack built homes in Forest Park with Monaghan Realty Company, started and co-owned Automatic Detection Systems. Jack continued working hard until he finally retired in 1991 at age 70. Jack and Wodie enjoyed their retirement years at the beach and travelling, and reveled in the company of their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Jack is survived by his adoring wife, Helen Rosa “Wodie” Coleman Monaghan; his four daughters, Marietta Monaghan, Catherine Joyner, Anne Frost and her husband David Frost, and Rosa Read; his two sons, Jamey Monaghan and his wife Barbara, and Andrew Monaghan and his wife Paige; eleven grandchildren: David Joyner, Will Joyner, Mimi McCauley, Meghan Frost, Marian Frost, Daniel Read, Catherine Read, Jack Monaghan, Austin Monaghan, Caroline Monaghan and Kelley Monaghan; two great-grandchildren: Payton Moore and Henry Joyner; his niece, Peg Monaghan; brother-in-law Stephen B. Coleman, Jr. and his family; and numerous Monaghan, Jackson, Coleman and Randolph kin. Jack was predeceased by his parents, his sister Ellen Mary, and brothers, John Joseph and Bernard Andrew. Visitation will be at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church on Wednesday, April 10, 2019, at 10:30am followed by the Funeral Mass at 11:00. Special thanks to the staff of Kirkwood By The River, St. Vincent’s Hospital and Compassus Hospice. The family requests, in lieu of flowers, memorials to Jack be made to St. Bernard Preparatory School [www.stbernardprep.com/donate/] or the charity of your own choosing.
- Visitation Wednesday, April 10, 2019
- Funeral Mass Wednesday, April 10, 2019
- Family Graveside Service