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Welcome to the memorial page for

Lawrence "Jack" Imel

June 9, 1932 ~ April 30, 2017 (age 84)

Lawrence "Jack" Imel

"of Lawrence Welk fame"

Peacefully passed from this world on 04/30/2017, at the age of 84.  He is survived by Norma, his wife of 64 years as well as two Son's Gregory and Timothy (Sally) and two daughters Debra Charton (Edward) and Cynthia Buttner, as well as 12 grandchildren and 10 (soon to be 11) great grandchildren.  He is preceded in death by his son Terrance, and his daughter-in-law Vicki.

 Jack was born to Jennings and Opel in Portland, Indiana on June 9, 1932.  Jack began taking dance lessons at age 4 and took up the marimba at age 9.  By the time he was 12, he was performing locally.

 After graduating from Portland High School, he attended Arthur Jordan Conservatory of Music in Indianapolis, then landed a job with the Horace Heidt Band.  In 1952, Jack married his High School sweetheart, Norma Jean Denney and  in that same year, enlisted in the Navy.  Jack went on to win the all-Navy talent contest in 1955 and 1956.

 

In 1957, while being stationed in San Diego and with two weeks until his discharge, Jack mailed an audition record to Lawrence Welk.  Almost immediately Jack received a call from a representative of Welk, inviting him to the Aragon Ballroom in Santa Monica, California for an audition.  Jack set up his marimba and with Mr. Welk watching he tore into his act.  Mr. Welk's eyes widened when Jack jumped over the marimba at the conclusion of his act.  After the audition, Mr. Welk invited him to join the show.  For the next 25 years Jack was not only a featured member of the show, but the associate producer as well.  Jack was always proud that he was from Portland Indiana and when Mr. Welk asked him how he wanted to be introduced, Jack just said introduce me as "Jack Imel from Portland, Indiana".  Sometimes when Jack would do his dance routines, he had "Portland" put on the background props.  It was his way of saying hello to the folks back home.

 After the show ended in 1982, jack continued to perform, working on cruise ships and traveling the world with Norma.  He also performed in Branson, Missouri at the Lawrence Welk Theater as a featured member of the cast.

 In 2002, Jack and Norma retired to Porterville, California.  While living in Porterville, they made many friends and Jack Joined The Lions Club.

 Jack was all things Indiana.  Although he lived in California, his heart was in Indiana.  For a very long time, Jack had the Portland Paper delivered to him in California.  Jack loved to follow the High School sports teams, as well as Indiana University (IU).  He was also a member of the Jay County Historical Society.  He was proud to be a Hoosier!

 Jack was a proud member of the Lions Club, a life member of the Loyal order of the Moose, and a life member of the Elks (BPOE).

 Although Jack was an outstanding entertainer, he was a better Father.  He truly loved his children, his grandchildren, and his great grandchildren.  He was a "good man".  He is now with his son Terrance and Vicki who will be his guides in heaven.

 Visitation will be held on Wednesday from 12 -2 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 402 N. Ship St., Portland.  Services will follow at 2:00 pm on Wednesday at the First Presbyterian Church 402 North ship street, Portland.  Burial will follow at Green Park Cemetery in Portland.

 The American Legion Post #211 of Portland will conduct military graveside rites.  


 Service Information

Visitation
Wednesday
May 10, 2017

12:00 PM to 2:00 PM
First Presbyterian Church
402 N. Ship St.
Portland, Indiana 47371

Funeral Service
Wednesday
May 10, 2017

2:00 PM
First Presbyterian Church
402 N. Ship St.
Portland, Indiana 47371


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