Obituaries » Jack Edward Saylor, Sr.

October 15, 1920 - January 7, 2019

Service Date: January 11, 2019

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Jack Edward Saylor, Sr.
Oct. 15, 1920 – Jan. 7, 2019

Jack Saylor thought he might live forever, but Father Time finally caught up with him, and he passed away in the wee hours of the morning on January 7 at the grand age of 98. He was at home, wrapped up in love from his family and caregivers.

A celebration of his life will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, January 11 at First Presbyterian Church ,Wilson with the Rev. Dr. Tom Watkins officiating. His family will receive friends immediately following the service. Casual attire is welcomed.

Jack is survived by his children, Teri Saylor of Raleigh, Jack and Ann Saylor of Beaufort, and Lisa and Andy Hutchinson of Wilson. He is also survived by his granddaughter, Shelby Elisabeth Smith of Wilson, whom he adored. He was preceded in death by his wife, Doris Winebarger Saylor, parents Simeon Lee and Pearl Fields Saylor, and sisters, Emily Alderman and Nell Flinchum.

Born and raised in the Old Salem district of Winston-Salem on October 15, 1920, Jack grew up with a rowdy gang of friends who made the most of their youth, always seeking ways to make mischief with as much creativity as they could muster. As a young man, he loved playing sports, swimming, dancing and dating pretty women, both in the United States and abroad when he served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He met the love of his life, Doris Winebarger of Germanton, and they were married on June 9, 1954. Together they raised their three children and were active in Ardmore Moravian Church in Winston-Salem.

During his long career with Export Leaf Tobacco Company, Jack was transferred from Winston-Salem to Wilson in 1976, and they embarked on a new chapter. After his retirement, Jack and Doris created and managed The Curiosity Shop and the Wilson Antique Mall, and they worked in the antique business for several years before retiring.
By the time Jack was well into his 80s, he discovered his abiding passion as a bona fide gym rat. For the rest of his life, he spent most of his time volunteering with the Wilson Family YMCA and the Wilson County Senior Center, where he taught a popular aerobics class, often training as many as 40 individuals in a single class. He showed many seniors how to achieve a better quality of life and have fun doing it.

Before Jack passed away, he dictated to his family a few things he wants everybody to know about him.

Active in the Boy Scouts as a boy, he served in the patrol when he was 12 and as a scoutmaster as an adult.

He graduated from Gray High School where he played football for four years. His jersey number was 21.

He always wanted to fly airplanes but his family couldn’t afford to send him to flight school. When World War II broke out, he joined the Army Air Corps on May 24, 1941 and trained as a flight engineer. During the war, he served in the 70th Bomb Squad, 38th Bombardment Group in the South Pacific, stationed at the Nandi Air Force Base on Fiji. He received an honorable discharge on Sept. 9, 1945.

After his discharge, Jack considered going to college on the GI bill, but a good offer to join the management team at Export Leaf Tobacco Company was too tempting, so he went to work instead, and had a successful career. The company enrolled him in management classes at Wake Forest University School of Business, the Kenan-Flagler School of Business at the University of North Carolina, and the University of Bath School of Management in Bath, England.

Devoted to his church and spiritual life, he was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Wilson and served on the Session. He remained an inactive member of the Moravian Church for the rest of his life.

He was passionate about sharing the gospel of good health, and as part of his fitness outreach, he traveled around the local area, speaking about the “Four Pillars of Health,” and “Aging Gracefully.”

Jack wants to make sure people remember him, and he leaves behind an enormous footprint that won’t easily be filled. He was featured in the “Tar Heel Traveler” series on WRAL, in the News & Observer, and in the Wilson Times for his work and volunteerism in health and fitness. Last year, a film crew interviewed him about his service in World War II, and that video will be submitted to the Library of Congress American Folk Life Center Veterans History Project.

Jack’s family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in his memory to the First Presbyterian Church of Wilson, 414 Sunset Rd. NW, Wilson, North Carolina 27893, or the Wilson Family YMCA, 3436 C Airport Blvd, Wilson, North Carolina 27896. Condolences may be sent to his home at 2204 Somerset Dr. Wilson, North Carolina 27893.

Jack was a fun-loving, popular guy who was loved by all who knew him, and he will never be forgotten.

Condolences may be directed to Joyner’s Funeral Home at

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