John “Jack” H. Kauffman

The biography of pilot John “Jack” H. Kauffman, by his daughter Kim Kauffman



Biography for Jack Kauffman as told by Kim Kauffman, daughter.


John Howard Kauffman, (Jack) the youngest of seven children, four brothers, and two sisters, was born at home in 1918 on the family farm in Wappingers Falls, New York. His mother was Minnie Gertrude Moore, a nurse trained at Vassar College. His father was William Albert Kauffman who graduated from Bucknell University teacher training. During the Great Depression, William commuted weekly to Brooklyn, NY, to teach math at high school while Minnie and the kids worked to run the farm. Jack remembers, “Everyonemilked the cows. Mother did the canning and Edwin and I fed the chickens. The thrasher came and thrashed the grain and we stored it in the granary (a 20 x 20 x 8-foot room lined with tin to make it mice proof). The corn sheller was a round container you put anear of corn in. Edwin would turn the crank and out came the corn on the cob! Every Sunday we would have a chicken, a big chicken dinner. We kept eggs in big earthen crocks in the root cellar in a water glass. It kept them fresh for a long time.”


Jack actually walked two miles to get to school in a one-room schoolhouse that taught all eight grades at once. When not at work on the farm Jack roamed the nearby woods with his brother, Edwin, hunting, swimming in the summer, skating in winter. Jack graduated from Poughkeepsie High School


Jack attended Pennsylvania State University. He was a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity and a member of the lacrosse team. He worked serving meals at the fraternity to help supplement his college expenses. He graduated with a degree in industrial engineering in 1939.


Jack enlisted in the Army Air Corps and trained at Wright Field in Ohio. His unit in the 79th Fighter Group in North Africa was under the British command of GeneralMontgomery rather than the United States command of General Patton. Jack flew 84missions. The fighter pilots were supposed to be sent home after completing 50 missions but under Montgomery, their unit was overlooked for months.


After Jack’s overseas tour, he continued his Air Corps career in Florida as a test pilot at an airbase near Redington Beach. Instead of Air Corps housing, Jack was lodged at the Tides Hotel on Redington Beach where he met Dorothy Quinn, soon to be Mrs. John H.Kauffman. They married at


the Larchmont Yacht Club in New York in 1944. Jack was stationed at Bartow Army AirBase as well as Dayton Army Air Base as he concluded his service.


Dorothy (Dot) and Jack lived in Miami Beach and Orlando for the birth of their first three children, Victoria Paige, Lindsley Marie, and John Scott. Early in their marriage, Jack flew commercially for a time for Pan American Airlines. But, passenger flight did not suit Jack and he moved on to utilize his Industrial Engineering training working for Florida Light and Power.


Their next address was Pittsburg, Pennsylvania where their daughter, Kimberly was born. The Kauffman family settled in Weston, Connecticut where Jack’s career focused on the load cell and strain gauge sales to power companies, and large industrial building sites. In the1960s Jack maintained his pilot’s license flying the Piper Cub for fun excursions from Danbury Airport.


Jack and Dot played tennis and paddle tennis together for many years. Jack and the kids all skied the slopes of New England, skated the ponds nearby, and swam in the Aspetuck River in summer. Jack took up jogging at age fifty, jogging with his dog, Jedediah, down to Compo Beach. He continued logging miles well into his eighties. One major accomplishment during those years was summiting Mount Kilimanjaro at the age of seventy-one!


In 1973 Jack bought 65 acres In Sandgate Vermont and in the subsequent years built a small cabin for the family with a view of the Green Mountains and with not a sound to be heard but the birds and an occasional plane droning by.


Jack lived (for 19 years) until the end of his life, with Jean Eisenhart on her gentle woman farm in Sandgate. They both enjoyed keeping a large vegetable garden, working up firewood, haying the fields, and tending to the horses, goats, and chickens. Jack loved Africa. He traveled on a photographic safari to Tanzania and to Kenya. Jack and Jeanadventured together to Spain and Rome and to the Okavango Delta in Botswana, sailed in the Caribbean, and visited variously around the United States.


A life fully lived.