Tributes paid to ‘legendary figure’ who will be sorely missed

July 26 2019
Tributes paid to ‘legendary figure’ who will be sorely missed

A “complete one-off” and “legendary figure” have been just some of the many endearments used to describe Father Jack House, who sadly passed aged 83.

A funeral was held for the much-loved and well-known vicar and teacher on July 18 at Holy Nativity in Knowle, the church of which Father Jack had been a “faithful friend”.

In a post shared on Facebook on June 21, announcing that Father Jack had passed away earlier that day, Holy Nativity wrote: “RIP Father Jack House.

“It is with great sadness we have to report Father Jack passed away earlier today. Please remember him and Rosemary in your prayers.

“He was a much loved, faithful friend of Holy Nativity and someone who touched many people’s lives. Requiescat In Pace.”

Hundreds of tributes were paid in response to the sad news, with members of the local community taking to social media to share fond memories of Father Jack, or Mr House, as he was known to his former students.

Many gave their condolences to his wife Rosemary, with some friends recalling happy memories shared with the couple.

Heartfelt messages were shared about the devoted Bristol City fan on the football club’s ‘One team in Bristol’ online forum – many remembering him as a “larger than life character”; someone who had a “heart of gold” and “never took life too seriously”.

Born and raised in BS3, Father Jack dedicated his adult life to serving the local community, not just as a vicar but also as a teacher and school governor for many years.

He conducted christenings, marriages, and funerals for thousands of local people, and inspired many colleagues with his knowledge and approach to ministering.

You can read tributes to Father Jack on pg. 14 of the Bedminster edition of South Bristol Voice

‘I’ve been proud to call Jack my friend’

Father Jack House touched the lives of many local people with his infectious humour, kind heartedness, and dedication to the local community.  A close friend shares his fond memories of Father Jack and reflects on why the vicar was such an extraordinary character ... 

Father Jack House was not a ‘normal vicar’.  He was a one-off, a well known, and indeed legendary figure not only in the churches in which he served but throughout the community in Bedminster and Ashton Gate and beyond.

I’ve been proud to call Jack my friend and mentor for over 30 years. We shared a common background coming from fairly humble beginnings; Jack from Pearl Street in Bedminster and me from St George in East Bristol. We had an awful lot in common with one exception.

He was one of Bristol City’s biggest fans; a season ticket holder, a shareholder and a member of the Senior Reds. He followed his beloved City through good times and bad and never lost ‘the faith’. A well known figure at the City ground the wonderful comments on the City forum ‘One team in Bristol’ are a tribute to a man who was both loved and respected.  As for myself, I am a true blue, a supporter of Bristol Rovers and for some years honoury chaplain to the club. 

We were both ‘ecumenical’ in our football and apart from some good natured ribbing it was never a source of any conflict between us.  I once invited him to preach at a Bristol Rovers carol service at St Anne’s Church in Brislington where I was the vicar and Jack was Hon. Assistant Curate.  It was all going well until Jack pulled off his robes revealing a Bristol City shirt underneath!  The comments from the congregation were not the ones you usually hear in church!

I was proud and delighted when Jack married my wife Caroline and myself on 2nd February 2002 also at St Anne’s church. He wore his City scarf and I wore my blue and white Rovers scarf.

Jack taught RE for over 30 years at Ashton Park School where generations of pupils remember him with affection and a little fear.  He was well known for his accuracy with the board rubber! He went on to marry, baptise and sadly officiate at the funerals of those he had taught. He was always delighted when former pupils greeted him in the street.

He served the community in so many ways not least as a governor at Ashton Gate Primary, South Street Primary School (now Compass Point) and Ashton Vale Primary School. In 2006, he campaigned to restore a commemorative window at South Street Primary School dedicated to the former pupils killed in the Great War.  His campaigning also led to  blue plaques being placed on the homes of great but sometimes, little known, Bristolians.

 A lifelong socialist, he was a member of the Bedminster branch of the Labour party, the Christian Socialist Movement as well as Amnesty International, Christian Action, the Campaign for the Abolition of Capital Punishment, and the Homosexual Law Reform Society.

He was incredibly well read and described himself as a life-long student.  He gained a Bachelor of Education from St Matthias College of Education then in Fishponds and a University of London Master of Arts  in Religious Education and a Master of Theology in Church History from the University of Wales.

He was a wonderful priest in the Church of England who saw no distinction between ministering in the church and ministering in the community.  He loved the ritual  and ceremonial of the High Church, Anglo-Catholic tradition which he described as ‘Bells and Smells’.  He was loved and respected by all who were privileged enough to know him.  I learned so much from Jack as a man and as a priest. The way I conduct weddings, funerals etc, is just as Jack took them.  A couple of years ago I had a meeting with the then Bishop of Bristol. In the course of our conversation he told me, ‘You know what Steve, you’re not a normal priest’. I smiled and said a silent prayer of thanks for Jack House.

Reverend Steven Hawkins, Holy Nativity, Knowle

 

 

 

 

Father Jack House was not a ‘normal vicar’.  He was a one-off, a well known, and indeed legendary figure not only in the churches in which he served but throughout the community in Bedminster and Ashton Gate and beyond.I’ve been proud to call Jack my friend and mentor for over 30 years. We shared a common background coming from fairly humble beginnings; Jack from Pearl Street in Bedminster and me from St George in East Bristol. We had an awful lot in common with one exception. He was one of Bristol City’s biggest fans; a season ticket holder, a shareholder and a member of the Senior Reds. He followed his beloved City through good times and bad and never lost ‘the faith’. A well known figure at the City ground the wonderful comments on the City forum ‘One team in Bristol’ are a tribute to a man who was both loved and respected.  As for myself, I am a true blue, a supporter of Bristol Rovers and for some years honoury chaplain to the club.  We were both ‘ecumenical’ in our football and apart from some good natured ribbing it was never a source of any conflict between us.  I once invited him to preach at a Bristol Rovers carol service at St Anne’s Church in Brislington where I was the vicar and Jack was Hon. Assistant Curate.  It was all going well until Jack pulled off his robes revealing a Bristol City shirt underneath!  The comments from the congregation were not the ones you usually hear in church! I was proud and delighted when Jack married my wife Caroline and myself on 2nd February 2002 also at St Anne’s church. He wore his City scarf and I wore my blue and white Rovers scarf. Jack taught RE for over 30 years at Ashton Park School where generations of pupils remember him with affection and a little fear.  He was well known for his accuracy with the board rubber! He went on to marry, baptise and sadly officiate at the funerals of those he had taught. He was always delighted when former pupils greeted him in the street. He served the community in so many ways not least as a governor at Ashton Gate Primary, South Street Primary School (now Compass Point) and Ashton Vale Primary School. In 2006, he campaigned to restore a commemorative window at South Street Primary School dedicated to the former pupils killed in the Great War.  His campaigning also led to  blue plaques being placed on the homes of great but sometimes, little known, Bristolians. A lifelong socialist, he was a member of the Bedminster branch of the Labour party, the Christian Socialist Movement as well as Amnesty International, Christian Action, the Campaign for the Abolition of Capital Punishment, and the Homosexual Law Reform Society.He was incredibly well read and described himself as a life-long student.  He gained a Bachelor of Education from St Matthias College of Education then in Fishponds and a University of London Master of Arts  in Religious Education and a Master of Theology in Church History from the University of Wales. He was a wonderful priest in the Church of England who saw no distinction between ministering in the church and ministering in the community.  He loved the ritual  and ceremonial of the High Church, Anglo-Catholic tradition which he described as ‘Bells and Smells’.  He was loved and respected by all who were privileged enough to know him.  I learned so much from Jack as a man and as a priest. The way I conduct weddings, funerals etc, is just as Jack took them.  A couple of years ago I had a meeting with the then Bishop of Bristol. In the course of our conversation he told me, ‘You know what Steve, you’re not a normal priest’. I smiled and said a silent prayer of thanks for Jack House. 
Reverend Steven HawkinsHoly Nativity, Knowle