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Longtime SC Sheriff’s deputy dies suddenly

Posted: Thursday, Jan 2nd, 2014

Santa Cruz County Sheriff's deputy Tony Jack (second from left), who died Saturday, is shown with his sons and his father, Brin. (Contributed photo)

SANTA CRUZ — Tony Jack, a 28-year law veteran in Santa Cruz County, died suddenly Saturday. He had recently celebrated his 50th birthday.

Jack was reportedly working out at a gym in cross training with an off duty firefighter when he suddenly collapsed, said Ryan Kennedy of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office. Though emergency efforts were made to revive him he was pronounced dead a short while later at Dominican Hospital.

“It is with great sadness that the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office announces the passing of one of our members,” the Sheriff’s Office said. “Prior to joining Santa Cruz County, Tony worked for Pacific Security and Investigations where he made many lasting friendships and developed a sincere interest in helping others. He could often be seen counseling a troubled youth or spending time with the elderly or homeless. He treated others with dignity and respect and knew early on that law enforcement was his destined career.”

Jack was born in Los Gatos. He spent a good part of his life in Santa Cruz County, attending Soquel High School and Cabrillo College. Along with his family, he was intensely involved in the 4-H Club and the Santa Cruz County Fair. Jack attended the Gavilan College Police Academy in Gilroy and held Basic, Intermediate, Advanced and Supervisory certificates. He enjoyed teaching, and would later go on to become an instructor at Cabrillo College.

Jack joined the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office in 1985 and served until 1987 when he decided to return home and join the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office. He was hired by the late Sheriff Al Noren.

“To me, this is just unbelievable — I’m still in shock,” said Capitola Police Chief Rudy Escalante. “I’ve known Tony in law enforcement for more than 25 years and he was such a caring person. This is a huge loss.”

Most recently Jack was a common fixture at the Santa Cruz County Superior Court as a bailiff.

The Jack family has been in the news over the last few years when they learned that their son, Gavin, needed a heart transplant. Gavin, now 18, a Soquel High graduate, was diagnosed with arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia in 2011. He had collapsed during football practice at Soquel High. He underwent open-heart surgery three times, which failed to mitigate the problem. Gavin ultimately had to have a heart transplant which was completed in October.

“While with Santa Cruz County, Tony had a remarkable service record in a variety of assignments,” the Sheriff’s Office said. “He held positions in patrol and investigations and worked as a gang investigator, field training officer, SWAT team member and firearms and driving instructor.”

Jack also served in the administration bureau working in the recruiting, hiring and training division and in 1998 he supervised the Sheriff’s Live Oak Service Center.

“Tony’s personnel record boasts numerous commendations from co-workers, members of allied law enforcement, the faculty of multiple school districts, numerous County Supervisors and many, many members of our community,” the Sheriff’s Office said. “Most recently, Tony was pleased to serve as Superior Court Bailiff for the Honorable Judge Timothy Volkmann. Tony was devoted to his children and was an involved member of the community. He often bragged about his three sons and the love of his life, Narine Kadekian.”

“The entire Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office and its extended family mourn the loss of Deputy Tony Jack,” The Sheriff’s Office said. “We share in the sadness felt by the Jack family and all of the Santa Cruz community.”

Watsonville Police Chief Manny Solano said, “Tony and I first met in 1984 as Cabrillo College students who worked security at the Santa Cruz Metro Center. Besides having a great sense of humor, Tony had a passion to serve his community, something he learned early on from his mother and father. It wasn’t uncommon to see him counseling a troubled teen, helping a confused senior get on the right bus or take time out of his busy schedule to visit a sick friend. That’s just the kind of man he was.”

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