A founding father of the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival died after celebrating his 50th year volunteering for the organization.
John A. Jack Randinelli, 74, died of a heart attack Sunday at DeKalb Health in Auburn.
A Pennsylvania native, he moved to Auburn in 1964, where he began his career in banking and established himself as Auburns biggest cheerleader, said Bill Hohler, a board member for the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival.
Denny Ketzenberger of Auburn said he was one of the first people who met Randinelli when he came to Auburn in 1964 and attended an Auburn Jaycees meeting.
Randinelli joined the Jaycees soon after and developed a friendship with Ketzenberger during the next 50 years.
Jack was always community-minded, Ketzenberger said.
Randinellis involvement with the Jaycees introduced him to DelMar Johnson of Auburn, who recruited him to help park cars for the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival in 1964.
Since then, Hohler said Randinelli helped put the city on the map in various volunteer roles.
He was a member of the ACD Club, a board member for the ACD festival, and in 1974, he founded the ACD Hoosier Tour to help gain publicity for the festival by having a group of ACD owners drive their cars about a 120-mile radius of the city to advertise.
He was always thinking of ways to promote the city and the festival, Hohler said.
Randinelli was honored Thursday with a plaque celebrating his 50th and final year as an official volunteer for the ACD festival.
But we knew deep down that he would still be around to help out with festival whenever asked, Hohler said.
So when Randinellis death was announced during a club awards banquet Sunday morning, it was shocking news, Hohler said.
Its going to be tough to overcome, but well honor him by doing the best we can, Hohler said.
Randinelli was born in 1939 in Warren, Pa., to the late John and Mary Jane (Adams) Randinelli. He earned a bachelors degree from Penn State University in 1961 and served in the U.S. Army.
When he first came to Auburn, he worked for his grandfather Amos Adams at Auburn Federal Savings and Loan, and he was president of the Hamilton Bank for 26 years before he retired in 1990 and became a professional volunteer.
He married Ruth Abercrombie in 1964, and she survives him in Auburn with their two daughters, Kim Randinelli of Auburn and Karen Randinelli-Ackerman and her husband, Troy, also of Auburn.
Randinelli also served on the board of directors of the Hicksville Bank and was currently serving on the Auburn Board of Works for Mayor Norm Yoder.
Yoder met Randinelli in the 1970s when he wanted to borrow money to start a contracting business. The two developed a friendship while serving together on the Eckhart Public Library Board where Yoder noticed Randinellis heart for the community and his positive spirit.
The glass was always over half full with Jack, Yoder said.
His positive attitude also stood out to Janelle Graber, director of the library, who said Randinelli set the standard for dedicated leadership and volunteerism during his time on the board of trustees.
Graber said his fiscal leadership was critical to renovating the library and building a genealogy center.
But even though he was a strong leader, he wasnt afraid to get his hands or clothes dirty.
She recalls one time there was a problem with a historic fountain outside the library, and before she knew it, Randinelli was going down into the well pit of the fountain wearing his white pants and dress shoes.
Whatever needed to be done, he was willing to do it, she said.
Along with his volunteer work, Randinelli was well-known around town for having saved a local popcorn stand from extinction, Ketzenberger said.
Randinelli and his wife bought Marthas Popcorn Stand in 2001, and since then the family has been opening it two or three nights each week, talking with locals late into the nights, Ketzenberger said.
He said Randinellis death on Sunday was a huge shock for the community. He didnt know his friend had heart problems.
He saw Randinelli for the last time Saturday riding down the street in his car with the mayor during the ACD festival.
He was a special friend, Ketzenberger said.
In addition to his wife and daughters, Randinelli has three grandchildren, all of Auburn.
Services will be 11 a.m. Thursday at Auburn Presbyterian Church, where Randinelli was a member. Calling will be Wednesday from 1 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at Feller and Clark Funeral Home, 1860 S. Center St., Auburn. Calling will also be one hour before the service from 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday at the church.