Through motorcycle trips, countless hours of conversation and time spent with Jack, myself Wayne Sims, Perry Biddle and others have come to know and love Jack. Also, riders who are no longer with us including Larry Williams, Gene Snider, J.B. Woodward, Jamie Moncrief, and Bobby Smith. We would like to share our friend Jack with you today.
Jack was born to his parents Claude and Lucinlle on April 8, 1932 in Anniston, Alabama. He married Mary Jo his first-grade sweetheart. They have five sons and one daughter, all of whom ride Harley-Davidsons.
In 1944 at the age of twelve, Jack worked after school at Anniston Soil Foundry. After getting off the bus, he would grab a biscuit and onion and run across the hillside five miles to work because it was ten miles to travel by road. He would return home by dark having earned $1.25 for his day’s pay.
Running to work each day, Jack would “eye” a Schwinn motorbike leaning by a tree. One day it asked if it was for sale. IT WAS! Jack bought his first motorbike at age 12 for $50. To crank the bike, he had to run with it until it cranked and then jump on.
Two years later, Jack began working full time at the foundry. At age 16 in 1948 Jack bought his first Harley-Davidson a 1946 Knucklehead.
At 18 Jack asked Mary Jo’s father permission to marry her. Her father had a question of his own. “How are you going to take care of my daughter” Jack replied I don’t know but I will.” In December 1950 the two were wed.
One day, Jack saw a sign on Noble Street, “Uncle Sam Wants You”. Tired from the day’s work, he decided to enter the office to see what “Sam” was talking about, not realizing it was a recruiting station. The recruiter instructed him to get into a van and drove to a train station in Gadsden. Jack climbed into a bunk and drifted off to sleep. Three days later when the train stopped in Texas, Jack was able to place a collect call to the only person on Buttermilk Road with a phone – Buck Greenwood. Jack still wasn’t sure what he had done, but he told Buck to go tell Mary Jo, “Sam got me!” “I’m somewhere in Texas”.
Six months later out of boot camp, Jack and about 300 other men were in a parking lot, when a captain asked if anyone worked with small instruments in civilian life. Jack raised his hand, the captain said, “come with me, you look like a dental technician.”
After three years of Sam’s air force, in 1953 Jack returned to Anniston to the foundry and his bride.
Shortly thereafter Jack worked at dental labs in Anniston and West Point, Georgia while taking courses at Auburn. Jack then worked for a dentist in Pell City from 1960-1967.
Jack rode his Harley-Davidson to Pell City to work every day, encountering ruts and construction, with mud and dust for seven long years. He opened his own lab in Anniston while working his last year in Pell City. He quit his job in Pell City and had not told Mary Jo any of this. Mary Jo was a bookkeeper at South Trust Bank at the time.
Jack finally told Mary Jo he had quit his job. Jo called all six children around the kitchen table and told them their daddy had quit his job and they were all going to starve in one big pile.
Fortunately, Jo’s prediction wasn’t correct. Jack ran Greenwood Dental Lab until his retirement in 2018 at age 86. Jack also made gold jewelry from military days until present day.
Jack’s life hasn’t been all work, for Jack knows how to have fun.
He has owned 35 motorcycles. He was an active Shriner for 25 years. He has been to Sturgis 20 times since 1986. He has been to Daytona over 50 times since 1952. Mary Jo has been with Jack on many of these trips, sometimes falling asleep but holding on to Jack.
In the early days of Daytona when the races were on the beach Jack was there.
He was also at the Cabbage Patch when it was only a 4-way stop, drag racing with others, and running from the law.
When asked how many continental states he had ridden in, he responded, “I can’t think of one I missed.”
Jack was an avid golfer, an excellent pool player.
After several of us sit around talking with Jack for a while at times he will say, “Well, I’ve got to get back to the Valley….Gotta go start some stuff with Mary Jo.”
Jack you’ve gone from Buttermilk Road to this special event for you today.
As for taking care of Mary Jo… I’d say the promise you made her father in December, 1950 has been kept.
I am proud to call Jack Greenwood my friend.