John E. “Jack” Severson, a man known both for his success in the broadcasting industry and his gentle love of family, died Thursday, March 20, 2014, in Orlando, Fla., after suffering a massive stroke. He had been a resident of the Jacaranda Trace Retirement Community in Venice, Fla., for nearly 14 years.
Born May 20, 1923, to Conrad and Betty Severson in Madison, Wis., Jack graduated from Madison West High School, served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army in World War II and participated in the D-Day invasion of Normandy in 1944.
He received a degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin, where he met his wife, Virginia “Jini” Severson, to whom he was married for over 66 years.
Jack’s career began in advertising during the 1950s. In 1960, he went on to become the owner and general manager of Cub Radio Inc. in Manitowoc, Wis. There he built the fledgling WCUB radio into a thriving commercial success, became one of the pioneers of FM radio broadcasting in the 1970s and developed a network of stations that carried his sport fishing reports to major markets in the Midwest.
Jack is remembered as an influential president of the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association. He also was a past president of the Manitowoc Chamber of Commerce and a lifetime member of the Elks Club, Lions Club, American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Jack is survived by his sister, Betsy; son Eric and his wife, LeThuy; son John and his wife, Suzanne; son Dave and his wife, Mary; daughter, Karin (Severson) Harrison, and her husband, Bob; 10 grandchildren, Michelle, Erinn, Erik, Autumn, Katy, Steve, Liz, Anh, Carrie and Nicole; and four great-grandchildren, Nicholas, Lola, Josiah and Sarai.
Services: Memorial services will be held in the Jacaranda Trace Retirement Community auditorium, 3600 William Penn Way, Venice, Fla., Sunday, April 13, at 3 p.m.