Jack “Papa” Wendell Berdan, 94, of Fort Smith passed away on Friday Dec. 9, 2022 in Fayetteville. He was born November 20, 1928, in Fort Smith to Bert and Myrtle (Blan) Berdan. Jack graduated from Fort Smith High School in 1946, and after graduation he worked with his father building homes. He met his sweetheart, Angyln Hurley, in 1948 and they married on February 14, 1950, at Immaculate Conception Church. Jack and Angyln had been married for 70 years when she passed in 2020.
Jack was drafted into the Korean War in 1952 and stationed at Fort Hood, TX. During his time in Korea, he served in the Company 185 as a combat engineer. He was honorably discharged in 1954. He was extremely proud to have been in the army, serve his country, and call himself a Veteran.
After returning home, he re-joined his father in the home building business. In the mid-50’s he built the first home he and Angyln lived in and raised their family. After his father’s passing, he went to work for Buckner Fleming as a concrete foreman until retirement. After retirement he became an FHA inspector for many years. Jack was an exceptional carpenter and always willing to help with a plethora of projects both big and small. Whether it be an addition to a home, a backyard playhouse castle for his grandchildren, or as simple as one of his custom walking sticks – every little detail was meticulously thought out and perfectly crafted. There was never any doubt if Jack was building something, fixing something, or creating something it would be near perfection. He provided his girls with a treasure trove of wonderful memories growing up. He was always coming up with fun outdoor activities and he made the Berdan backyard the most fun place to be in the neighborhood! He loved to garden and was still growing tomatoes at 93 years old. He and Angyln were blessed to spend a long retirement together and enjoyed travelling to Branson on many occasions.
Jack is survived by his three daughters; Kristie Knight, Jane Kuykendall and husband Gary, Laura Reith and husband John, 6 granddaughters; Kristen Knight, Kellye Sharum and husband Alex, Anna Claire and Ella Kuykendall, Addie and Lydia Reith; 3 great grandchildren; Grayson, Taber and Eliza Sharum and numerous nieces and nephews.
Graveside funeral service will be 1:00 PM Monday Dec. 12, 2022 at U.S. National Cemetery with military honors under the direction of Ocker-Putman Funeral Home of Ft. Smith. The family will visit with friends from 2:00-4:00 PM Sunday at the funeral home.
His daughters would like to thank the nurses and staff at the VA Hospital in Fayetteville who showed him so much love, compassion, and kindness. The care he received at the VA Hospital was truly extraordinary.