Jack Hope holds a copy of his book at The Highland County Press office.
Jack Hope holds a copy of his book at The Highland County Press office.
Hillsboro and Highland County have lost two more icons in the community in recent days. As it is with so many of life's inevitables, these losses are reminders of how precious our own time is, but also how much others have contributed to our respective memories.

Maybe some even lended a helping hand to us somewhere along the journey. These men did.

Learning today of the passing of Jack Hope and Eldon Schraw, two longtime local businessmen who lived a combined 182 years (how about that!), I initially was saddened by the news of their demise and for their respective families. I'm still sad for their families' losses. That's never an easy thing, to be sure. We've all been down that road.

However, having known Jack Hope and Eldon Schraw for more than half my life, I suspect they both left this earthly world knowing that they lived good and long lives and made many positive differences for many people along the way.

Let's start with Eldon Schraw.

In 1970, when I was 9 years old and my dad's surveying office was located on North High Street in Hillsboro, I worked 40-hour weeks in the summers and then played baseball in the evenings. One of my favorite places for lunch was Pasquale's Restaurant on South High. When lunch time came around and we were lucky enough to be upstairs at 106 1/2 North High in the old Hobart office (now part of the remodeled Merchants National Bank), I'd suggest to my dad that I could pick up lunch at Pasquale's. He understood. He'd slip me 10 bucks, and I'd get a hoagie and bring a stromboli sandwich for him.

I could be wrong, but I believe Eldon and Barb were like second parents to many of us of a certain age who played sports or cruised town on the weekends. They were always there to provide a safe haven for a few wayward teens.

When I worked at Rotary Forms in the 1980s, they experimented with a 24-hour restaurant on the weekends for some of us rounders. And yes, a friend or two of mine – both of whom shall remain nameless – and I had bacon and eggs at Pasquale's at 3 in the morning a time or two after the bars closed.

Eldon served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He was a renowned ballplayer, a realistic conservative and a genuinely nice and caring man. His family has my condolences. I miss those evenings laughing and eating pizza with high school pals at Pasquale's. Those were the days.

* * *

Like Eldon Schraw, my first encounter with Jack Hope came via my dad, who surveyed several properties for Jack. I met Jack in the Rocky Fork Lake area when I was no more than 15.

A few years later, some friends and I decided to take a canoe trip along Rocky Fork Creek and Paint Creek. When I told my dad our plans, he said I should call Jack Hope and Emerson Babington, both of whom probably had property along our journey. He also mentioned something about the "law of navigable streams" may or may not apply. (I got the message.)

I made the calls, and my friends and I endured a long day of low water and boat carrying in and around creeks Paint and Rocky Fork. That was almost 40 years ago, and I still have a few photos. (Maybe my old boss Richard Morris has a few, too.)

The late Bill Bear – of Buford and Pricetown note – once called me in 2009 or 2010. I was at the former HCP office on West Main Street. Bill was in Idaho, Arco or Hailey, most likely. He bellowed through the phone as only Bill could bellow: "Ryan (Bill always called me Ryan), I'm in Idaho looking at a plaque with someone from Hillsboro's name on it. Guess who it is?"

Too easy. I immediately replied, "Jack Hope." I've been to Arco, Idaho.

To the best of my memory, Bill called me a no-good smart ass. I will always treasure that conversation with a man who married two of my three sisters. (No s..kidding. Just ask me – or them.)

Jack graduated from Catholic University with a degree in aeronautical engineering. He spent decades working across the country from Washington, D.C. to California (and Idaho), moving from being a flight test engineer at GE to managing engine development.

He also worked on the development of subsonic and supersonic aircraft and was later involved in NASA flight tests of hypersonic aircraft.

When Jack would try to explain some of his work to this old Ridgerunner, I'd ask him to slow down. What he was talking about reminded me of placing a rocket booster on a mosquito. It just didn't make sense. But to Jack, it did.

As we reported this week, according to the Highland County Historical Society: “After receiving a degree in aeronautical engineering, Hope went on to develop advanced aircraft engines, nuclear aircraft engines and advanced military engines. A few of the highlights in his life include being selected by the Secretary of the Army to serve as a member of the Army Scientific Advisory Panel. In 1971, Hope became a full-time consultant to the White House office of Science and Technology during the Nixon administration. He was part of an international venture to develop and produce a new commercial aircraft engine, the CFM56, one of most successful commercial aircraft engines in history. This engine is still in production at this writing.”

In 2012, Hope published a 593-page autobiography, “High Hopes: The Adventures of an Engineer.”

I have a signed copy of Jack's book. I've read it. I like to think that I understood most of it.

My memories of men like Eldon Schraw and Jack Hope will always be good ones. My best to their families who were blessed to know them and be with them. Godspeed.

Rory Ryan is publisher and owner of The Highland County Press.