Jack was born at the beginning of the Great Depression on November 13, 1930 to Earl and Margaret Doheny in Marshfield, Wisconsin. Growing up on a farm in the Minnesota River Valley, without electricity, provided Jack with a solid foundation of humility and gratitude for the many blessings his long, well-lived life would offer.
At the age of 18 Jack and his family left the farm in Minnesota and moved to Chicago, Illinois where his father was a salesman for a company owned by Jack’s aunt and uncle. Jack’s uncle invented the world’s first power sewer cleaner and later expanded his invention to include an electric drill, which led to the sophisticated power sewer cleaners used today. This was Jack’s first introduction to sanitary sewer cleaning, which would become his life-long profession and the foundation for his impressive industry influence and success.
After completing school and serving our country in the United States Air Force, Jack returned to Chicago and worked for the family business. He traveled extensively across the United States with his father demonstrating power sewer cleaners. Shortly thereafter he met Edith “Edie” Roeder. They were married in 1957 and soon started a family. Daughter Mary Jo came first, followed by a son, Michael, and a second daughter, Kay.
The intense business travel was becoming difficult, and Jack wanted to find a way to spend more time at home with his family. In 1973 he started his own business, Jack Doheny Supplies, which has grown to become a leading provider of pump trucks, vacuum trucks, sewer cleaning equipment and pipeline inspection systems.
Immensely proud of his Irish heritage, Jack often made the connection between his early years in the Minnesota River Valley – home of the Jolly Green Giant – to his love of everything green. His company logo represents a green shamrock and he was even laid to rest in his favorite green sports jacket.
Jack will be remembered for many things, including his love of history, travel and his contagious smile. Perhaps it was his early beginnings during the Great Depression that taught him to always keep a positive outlook on life. He was as kind to the janitors who cleaned his office building as he was to his top customers. He made everyone – even strangers – feel like cherished friends. Even as his health declined in his final days, when asked how he was doing Jack’s response was always an enthusiastic “fantastic!”
Jack will also be remembered for his industry leadership. His business acumen allowed his company to grow significantly, but he was most respected by his peers for his fairness and desire to help out the “little guy.” Jack was formally recognized throughout the years for his business success, and in 2014 was named a “Standard Bearer” by the National Association of Sewer Service Companies (NASSCO). This recognition honored him as part of a select group of leaders who have contributed to the protection of our underground infrastructure through the development and implementation of industry standards.
“I believe it would be hard to find anyone who is against sewer clean-up,” Jack shared during his Standard Bearer interview. “It’s as American as Chevrolet and apple pie. For me, it’s also a family tradition. My father lived to be 107 and was instrumental in changing the way sewers are cleaned. I am proud to be part of this legacy and hope to follow in his footsteps to contribute to this great industry for many years to come.”
Jack did just that. With representation in all fifty states plus Canada, with hundreds of people employed by JDC Companies, and with his daughter, Kay, now leading the company, Jack’s legacy will most definitely continue on, as he wished, for many years to come. Even in his final days, Jack spoke of keeping the customer happy. He truly loved to work and especially enjoyed seeing people succeed.