of Alberta

Jacob E. (Jack) Dueck fonds

Accession 2016.021

Title and Physical Description

Jacob  E. (Jack) Dueck fonds. – 1972-2013. – 72 cm of textual records and other material

Administrative/Biographical History

Jacob E. (Jack) Dueck, story-teller, college professor, business promoter and consultant, was the son of Jacob Dueck and Susanna (Dyck) Dueck. He was born in Coaldale, Alberta, on 20 October 1932 and married Eleanor Toews of Linden, Alberta, on 24 August 1957. Together they had three children, Evelyn, Carolyn and Lorne. He died in Three Hills, Alberta, on 21 November 2014.
Jack attended the Coaldale Public School, the Coaldale Mennonite Brethren Bible School, the Alberta Mennonite High School, and then went on to further studies at the Mennonite Brethren Bible College where he earned a Th. B. degree in 1959, followed by a B.A. degree in English from Waterloo Lutheran University in 1960. In 1965, after short terms as a camp director in Manitoba and then in British Columbia, selling cars and real estate, teaching and conducting choirs at Sharon Collegiate Mennonite High School in Yarrow, British Columbia, and preaching as a lay person, Jack enrolled in graduate studies at Western Washington University where he earned an M.A. degree in English Literature in 1966. That led to an appointment to teach English literature at Goshen College, a Mennonite college in Goshen, Indiana. He held that position for ten years, during which time he also completed work for a Ph. D. degree at the University of Notre Dame in North Bend, Indiana, specializing in Modern British and Irish literature.
Music and literature inspired and also provided solace, comfort and relief for Jack. Already in Bible School, he exhibited exceptional talents as a choir conductor and, at the age of 20, conducted one of several choirs of the Coaldale Mennonite Brethren Church. It was an avocation he pursued in many different ways throughout his life.
After leaving Goshen College, Jack, together with Eleanor, designed and operated several food service and hospitality restaurants in Indiana and Ontario, and a consulting company, People Management Associates. In 1983 Jack became a consultant and the manager of Penn Alps, a centre promoting Appalachian folk art and operating a restaurant on the historic Route 40 in western Maryland. There, for a time, he and Eleanor also restored an old Victorian house, converting it into a bed and breakfast facility.
Throughout his career, but especially in later years, Jack was a consummate story teller. His stories ranged from deeply moving descriptions of the terrible suffering endured during the terror years of Stalin’s rule in the Soviet Union, to hilarious readings of Sarah Binks, Paul Hiebert’s fictitious poet and songstress of Saskatchewan. His best know work, Mysteries of Grace and Judgement, integrated strong emotional narratives with choirs providing cherished core Mennonite hymns and songs.

Scope and Content

The fonds consists mainly of working files pertaining to Jack’s story telling and public speaking presentations. It contains very little information, aside from several autobiographical pieces, about Jack’s childhood, his experiences as a student, his career at Goshen College, subsequent business initiatives, or family life.  It is arranged in four thematic series: 1. Autobiographical, personal and family items, 2. multi-media presentations, 3. short stories, sermons and reports, 4. business, management and consulting.  The material was part of a large mixed collection of very loosely organized papers which were reviewed, screened and organized by Ted Regehr, a professional trained archivist and personal friend.

Source of Acquisition

Donated by Carolyn Clement, Jack Dueck’s daughter and executor of his estate.

Restrictions on Access

File 1-1 restricted to trusted family members, or with permission by Carolyn Dueck or Ted Regehr. 

File List

I. Autobiographical, personal and family stories
1-1 “Re-Membering” a confidential 9-page autobiographical story.
1-2 “God did not understand Low German” several drafts with revisions.
1-3 “Growing up Russian Mennonite”, several drafts with changed titles and revisions.
1-4 “Humour as Grace. Stories Depicting the Redemptive Qualities of Humour
1-5 “Five Horses of the Apocalypse” or “Horses: Thereby Hang Some Tales.”
1-6 “Worship is Remembering” Diverse notes of presentations by Jack.
1-7 The Toews Family and Evergreen Farm. Several drafts under titles “Living by Faithfulness” and “Welcome to Evergreen Farm.”
1-8 Evergreen Farm, incorporation and business aspects.
1-9 Interview with Cornelius C. and Anna Toews by Evelyn Dueck.
1-10 Evergreen Farm Harvests.
1-11 “Discovering Church (or Stumbling Toward Church.”
1-12 “A Meditation for Jack Dueck’s parents on their 50th wedding anniverary, 12 August 1990.”
1-13 “Financial Bankruptcy and the Human Spirit.” handwritten notes.
1-14 “When All is Lost. Plotting the Resurrection.”
1-15 “Vignette of a Labor Day Party.”1
1-16 “The Uninvited Guest,” also “Alzheimers – The Uninvited Guest: New Ways of Living and Loving.” Several drafts.
1-17 “The Quintessence of Dust” Random notes after Jack’s dire cancer diagnosis.
1-18 “Soup Making Liturgy.”
1-19 Jack Dueck curricula Vitae
1-20 Obituaries and Tributes

II. Major multi-media presentations

II-1 Mysteries of Grace and Judgement. Several video versions, background notes, posters, bulletins, newspaper and journal reports and commentaries.
II-2 The Prodigal Son(s) (Family). Several files containing background notes, copies of presentations in diffrent settings, and supporting material.
II-3 “The Burning Bush or The Plastic Mulberry?” and “Discovering the Magi’s Gifts” both focusing on contemporary religious perceptions and practices.
II-4″Sarah Binks” notes, readings and correspondence.
II- 5 “Gathering at the River,” focusing on human interations with water.
II-6 “The Refugee Makers, also “Refugee Makes Surprise by Grace” and refugee stories under other titles.
II-7 “Redeeming the Hymn” for a special story, poetry and song program.

III. Stories, Sermons and Reports
III-1 File of numerous short stories told on various occasions.
III-2 “New Skins, Same Wine.”
III-3 “Clayton Kratz & His Cloud of Witnesses.”
III-4 “A Tale of Two Trees.”
III-5 “A Biblical barn raising.”
III-6 “The Abuse of Story.”
III-7 “Being What We Mean.”
III-8 “One Confession leads to Another.”
III-9 “Educating Rita or Comforting Rachael.”
III-10 “Barnyard Communion.”
III-11 “An Entrepreneur for all Seasons. Tribute to Aaron Klassen.”
III-12 Folder containing thirteen short (11-3 page) stories.
III-13 Letters to newspaper and periodical editors and related papers.
III-14 Menno Knight items – pen name to express controversial or off-beat views.
III-15 Goshen College fragmentary items.
III-16 Early sermon and meditation outlines by Jack Dueck
III-17 Wedding and anniversary sermons.
III-18 “Epiphany or Christmas letters.”

IV Business, Management and Consulting

IV-1 Penn Alps documents.
IV-2 People Management Consultants
IV-3 Bankruptcy, legal and financial papers.
IV – Boston Tour.


GRANDMA #766906