Joan and Jack Crable - May, 2002
Fifty-three years ago, Cincinnatian Jack Crable and seven of his pals decided
they would all join the Army. In January of 1949, they all did it, too,
together. In June of 1950, at the outbreak of the Korean War, five of
them ended up getting shipped out to South Korea. One who did not go to
South Korea was Joe Grever, who claims he was ordered to the French Riviera.
Joe laughs now when he remembers complaining,
"You don't understand,
the deal was me and my buddies were supposed to be kept together" -- as if the Army would care.
TESTED BY ADVERSITY IN KOREA
Six months later, Jack Crable was freezing in what is now North Korea;
he would have given anything for the Riviera's warmth. Like many of
his generation, Jack doesn't complain. He also tends to shrug off
past honors as "no big deal", so he doesn't volunteer that
he was awarded the Purple Heart for "scrapes and cuts" he got
when he was thrown from a jeep during battle, and he doesn't like
talking about what happened around Christmastime, 1950.
Cpl. Jack Crable
December 18, 1949
In early December, his company was north of the 38th Parallel, and Jack
developed a severe infection in his ears in the bitter cold; he learned
later that the infection developed because his eardrums had somehow been
perforated. Jack was sleeping with only his field hat, clothes, boots,
blanket and a pup tent for warmth in the 15 to 20 degree air. He would
tie his field hat up at night, and when he untied it in the morning, pus
would just come out of his ears. He reached the point where he could no
longer function as a soldier.
At the same time, the Red Chinese Army invaded Korea, and the U.S. forces
en masse to the south. Jack could not be evacuated by air because of his condition.
He was hospitalized in South Korea for a few weeks and was then shipped
to Japan, where he remained hospitalized for another 30 days. He was transferred
stateside to a hospital in Battle Creek, Michigan. His condition failed
to improve, and his doctors asked Jack if he felt he would get better
if he went home. Jack was very sick but said he would try, and he received
a medical discharge from the Army in October, 1951.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Jack's strength returned when he came home to Cincinnati and wove his
way back into a thick fabric of family and friends. Within a few months
he was working again, as a laborer and asbestos worker at construction
sites in the area. He married Joan on June 4, 1955. About a year and three
weeks later, the Crables had their first child, a son, Richard. On March
8, 1957, they bought their first home. They still live in that home in
After Richard, there was a new Crable baby about every two years -- Ann,
Robert, Margaret, Susan, and William -- and finally, about five years
after William, Jeffrey. Seven Crable children in all grew up in this modest
but immaculately kept home. Jack worked hard to provide. From the late
1950s until the end of the 60s, he ran his own business, a tire and automotive
repair shop. As the 70s rolled on, the Crable children started leaving
the house, but it wasn't long before the onslaught of "the second
wave", the grandchildren. So far, the Crables have 13, and today
the toys and play-saucer of the latest infant commandeer a living room corner.
Cpl. Jack Crable, member of the 25th Infantry,
35th Regiment Baseball Team 1949
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN
Jack and Joan are equally proud of all their children, of what kind of
people they have become. Each has overcome adversity of some kind through
Their oldest Rick attended parochial grade school, as did all of his brothers
and sisters. He played college basketball for Brunswick (Georgia) Junior
College and Northern Kentucky University. He works as a salesman for Vision
Embroidery, which purchased a sportswear company originally founded by
his little brother Bob. In his spare time, Rick helps coach basketball.
The Crables' second, Ann, graduated from Miami of Ohio and works as
a certified public accountant. She and her husband have three children.
Her daughter played field hockey, as she did.
Bob anchored the defense of the Cincinnati Moeller High football teams
coached by the legendary Gerry Faust. The team he played on went undefeated
from 1975 to 1977, and won two mythical national high school championships.
He was a three-time All-American at linebacker at Notre Dame. He played
pro football for seven years for the New York Jets. In 1992, Bob went
back to Moeller High as a part-time religion teacher. He still teaches
religion at Moeller, and for the last two years has served as head coach
of the football team there. Bob and his wife have four children.
Jack's son, Bob Crable, #43, soars high above the line of scrimmage
to block the potential game winning field goal, preserving ninth-ranked
Notre Dame's victory over sixth-ranked Michigan.
Jack's favorite memory of Bob playing ball would have to be the 1979
Notre Dame at Michigan game. With less than two minutes to play, the ninth-ranked
Irish were up by two points and the sixth-ranked Wolverines were lining
up on the 20 yard line for an attempt at a game-winning field goal. The
100,000 fans were going nuts right up to the moment when Bob jumped onto
a Michigan player's back and reached up to block the field goal, at
which point the stadium fell deathly silent.
Jack and Joan's fourth child, Peggy, took a business course in high
school and went straight to work for AT&T. She has remained and risen
with the company, which brought her to Boston to work. She and her husband
have two children. The fifth child, Susan, ran track for Mt. Notre Dame.
She works as a real estate paralegal in a law firm and has also coached
soccer at St. Vincent's Elementary, the parochial school she and her
The sixth child, William, played defensive end at Moeller High. He is built
like his father, smallish for football, but Jack says pound-for-pound
he was the best defensive football player on his team. He went on to attend
the University of Cincinnati and to found his own accounting firm. William
is married with one child.
Jeffrey, the seventh and youngest, grew to about six foot three, and went
on to start at linebacker for Moeller High his junior and senior years.
He got a football scholarship to attend Ball State. After being redshirted
his freshman season, Jeffrey came home to his parents and asked his parents,
"Would you mind if I don't play football?" Of course his
parents did not mind, and Jeffrey worked his way through Xavier, graduating
summa cum laude with a degree in psychology. He works as a sales manager
with a real estate firm. He is married with three children.
THE CRABLES CONFRONT A NEW ADVERSARY: MESOTHELIOMA
The Crable's wedding day.
June 4, 1955
Jack was at work in February, 2002 when he suddenly became violently ill
and began vomiting. He was rushed to the emergency room and hospitalized
with a working diagnosis of pneumonia. He had several CT scans taken which
over time showed abnormalities. A CT scan taken on March 15, 2002 showed
extensive pleural thickening on the right side and multiple calcified
pleural plaques consistent with asbestos exposure.
On April 9, 2002, Jack underwent a thoracotomy with pleural biopsy at University
Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio. Immunohistochemical staining upon tissue
harvested from a right pleural mass resulted in a diagnosis of malignant
mesothelioma, epithelial type.
Cancer." "Incurable." Jack, his wife, his whole family were shocked.
Jack's doctors at the V.A. referred him to Dr. Harvey Pass of the Karmanos
Cancer Institute in Detroit, Michigan. Dr. Pass is one of the foremost
surgeons in the world treating mesothelioma and Chairman of the Science
Advisory Board of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF), a nonprofit corporation whose mission is the eradication of mesothelioma
as a life-ending disease.
Jack met with Dr. Pass, who explained that the tumor was infiltrating the
lung as well as the pleural space. He advised Jack that his tumor was
Stage II and that he would not be a good candidate for extra-pleural pneumonectomy,
and suggested chemotherapy.
The Crables next contacted Dr. Nicholas Vogelzang and Dr. Hedy Kindler
at the University of Chicago Cancer Research Center. Drs. Vogelzang and
Kindler are also renowned treaters of mesothelioma and members of MARF.
However, when the Crables learned that the trials offered at Chicago were
random and blind, they declined participation.
Jack and Joan Crable, with their family.
Jack met with Dr. John R. Pancoast at the V.A. on May 7. Dr. Pancoast offered
three cycles of Gemzar and Cisplatin. (One cycle consists of three weeks
on chemotherapy, one week off). In addition to the usual side effects
of nausea and hair loss, Dr. Pancoast warned that this chemotherapy might
further damage Jack's already poor hearing; Jack has "profound"
(more than 50 percent) loss of hearing in the right ear, and 30 percent
in the left. When Jack considered the side effects and the opinion of
his doctors at the V.A. that the cancer is in both lungs, he rejected
this treatment option. Because
Alimta would currently be locally available only on a "compassionate use"
basis in combination with Cisplatin, Jack rejected this treatment option
as well. Instead, Jack has chosen "watchful waiting", pursuing
no treatment while carefully monitoring his health.
PRAY FOR VICTORY
Since his diagnosis, Jack has grown increasingly short of breath. He's
still able to help out some around the house, but not like he used to,
and not like he wants to. His family and friends have drawn closer to
Jack, the quintessential "good guy."
Jack has changed one thing since his diagnosis. Before, he was at church
every Sunday. Now he's there every day. He thanks God for each and
every new day with his family. He prays for more time, for healing, for
a cure for this terrible disease to come as suddenly and miraculously
as that moment in Ann Arbor, Notre Dame-Michigan 1979, when another Crable
rose up against all odds and blocked defeat.
*** POSTED SEPTEMBER 17, 2002 ***
An Update -- 6/17/03
Over the winter Jack broke his leg when he slipped on a patch of ice. His
doctor told him the leg would not have broken had it not been for the
Jack has chosen "careful watching" as his treatment plan. He
says he does not know if it was the right choice but knows that life has
been good and he hated the thought of being sick all the time from any
chemotherapy treatments. He's feeling pretty good. His shortness of
breath has increased and as a result of his broken leg he cannot walk
for any extended length of time. He just had a chest scan which revealed
there is tumor growth in his right lung but it's minimal - his doctor
is pleased about that.
He had a wonderful Father's Day and enjoyed a Red's game in their
new stadium. He says all he can do is keep going until he can't go
any more and only hope that his mesothelioma will just go away.
Mr. Jack Crable passed away on March 17, 2004