John Peter "Jack" Spalding died peacefully at home in Minnetrista, Minn., surrounded by his children, on Monday, March 13. He was 86.

Known for his wry sense of humor, legendary storytelling and lifelong commitment to exploring and protecting the natural world, Jack will be deeply missed by his family and friends.

Born in Lum, Mich., on April 27, 1936, and raised largely by his grandparents, Peter and Stella Spalding, Jack graduated from high school at age 17. In his senior yearbook, he left his classmates with these words of wisdom: “It isn’t what you do, it’s the way you get away with it.” 

After serving in the U.S. Air Force, Jack spent the majority of his career working for United Airlines in Minneapolis. 

He also passed countless hours on the ballfield—from the baseball team at Imlay City High School to the Riviera Supper Club softball team in Chanhassen, playing well into his 60s. A dedicated environmentalist and outdoorsman, he took innumerable camping and hiking trips to the Boundary Waters and other wilderness areas. 

At 60 years old, he hiked the entire 2,190 miles of the Appalachian Trail. During those five and a half months, he was known to fellow hikers by his trail name, “Lum.” He continued to support the trail through monthly donations for the rest of his life.

Jack was preceded in death by his father, Charles Edwin Spalding, mother and stepfather, Mary and Edwin Belz, his sister Mary DeFazio and a series of beloved canine companions—the last of which was Mollie, who passed away just three weeks prior.

He is survived by his children, Julie Vinson (Denny), Joel Spalding (Monica Costello), Carl Spalding (Lori) and Jill Lundstrom (Russ); grandchildren Stefanie Palmer (Aaron), Jennifer Thomerson (Clay), Madeleine Spalding (Arçan), Kathryn Lundstrom, Trevor Spalding, Isabelle Lundstrom, Hayley Spalding, Grace Lundstrom and Karsten Lundstrom; great-grandchildren Henry Palmer, Emma Thomerson and Laney Palmer; and sister Judy Burke.

Jack's family will be hosting a Celebration of Life around the end of May. Details can be found here as soon as they're available.