We at The Madison Courier lost a member of our family this week. Jack Ulery, our production manager, passed away Sunday.

Jack's official role at The Courier was to ensure that the paper got onto the press every day and eventually out the mailroom door.

At times that could be a challenge. Jack had a knack for keeping contrary machinery running when it seemed as if there was little hope we would get a paper printed.

Jack took pride in the fact that he could take an odd collection of tools and devise a way to keep the motors and belts and gears turning.

It wasn't unusual to see Jack's lanky body wrapped around a machine. He would take his 6-foot-plus frame and bend and stretch it in ways that would cripple an ordinary man.

His technique was unconventional, but no one could argue with his results.

Jack, however, was more to us than a fellow who could fix things. He was a kind and good man who was always ready to pitch in wherever help might be needed. He was respected and admired by everyone at The Courier.

And, he was one heck of a cook. Every year Jack would fix ribs for the entire Courier family during the Ribberfest weekend. He knew his way around a barbecue grill, and his feast was one we always looked forward to.

This year Jack didn't do any grilling. He wasn't feeling well.

But Jack was much more to us and the community.

Jack and his wife, Missy, moved to Madison from Peru, Ind. in 1998.

It didn't take long for the couple to make friends and carve out a comfortable life in their new home.

Jack loved music and his and Missy's circle of friends gravitated toward like minds. When Jack wasn't listening to music, he and Missy were on the floor dancing. On occasion he even found himself on stage shaking a tambourine, beating a drum or strumming a guitar. Recently, he became a master of the washboard.

If it made a sound, Jack and his musical friends could figure out a way to make music.

Others knew Jack as an avid golfer. He played frequently at Sunrise Golf Course. It's ironic - maybe fitting - that Jack's life ended shortly after leaving the golf course.

Jack was most proud of his family. He and Missy raised four terrific kids - Kris, Scott, Eric and Brooke. The children gave them three grandchildren - and a fourth is on the way.

Jack was one of those fellows everyone liked. It was so easy to call him a friend ... perhaps because he was so willing to welcome everyone into his family.

They don't come any better than Jack Ulery. The Madison Courier and the community will miss him dearly.