Biography of John Shirley Bellware, Jr.

John Shirley "Jack" Bellware, Jr. (1907-1992)

John Shirley Bellware, Jr, known as "Jack" to most people, was born on December 19, 1907 in Middletown, Ohio. He was the fourth child of John Shirley Bellware and Lillie Allen.

He grew up in Middletown and Miamisburg, Ohio. His parents were divorced when he was six years old. Jack and his three older brothers (Bill, Conn and Vern) stayed with their father to help on the farm. His little brother Allen stayed with his mother. His father remarried in 1914 to Bessie Frazier and three half brothers and three half sisters arrived in the years that followed. Due to his business and community activities, Jack is probably the best documented of all the Bellwares.

Conn William


Jack Allen

(c. 1914)

Vern, Jack, William, Allen & Conn, early 1920s


He went into the dry cleaning business in Chicago in the 1930s. He was quite successful, as were his brothers who also pursued that line of work.

Jack even helped finance his brother Conn's operation. Around this time Jack purchased a movie camera and recorded many family moments that have been relived over 70 years later.

Jack married Elsie Erickson prior to June 1933, when she went home to Sweden to visit her mother. Apparently the marriage didn't work out because Jack married Veda Stipp in Chicago in August 1934. That marriage didn't last and he remarried Elsie on Dec. 24, 1935. Jack & Elsie moved to Lawton in southwest Michigan by October 1940, when his draft number was announced. Elsie was granted US citizen in Van Buren County in 1941.

Ad from Benton Harbor News-Palladium, Dec. 31, 1941


Benton Harbor News-Palladium, Jan. 14, 1942

Jack continued in the dry cleaning business in Paw Paw. He was also active in his community and was elected president of the Paw Paw Chamber of Commerce in January 1942. His termed was short-lived, though. By October of 1942 he resigned to begin pilot training for the war effort. His training was delayed until January 1943 so he was chosen chairman of the Good Fellows to spread Christmas cheer for the needy in the community.

Jack acted as an instructor for the U.S. Army Air Corps during the war and ferried aircraft overseas between classes.

Jack was discharged from the Army Air Corps in July 1943 but took his flying seriously and became the temporary chairman of the local aviation club when it was organized the following August. A master of community involvement, Jack was appointed chairman of the American Legion post in June 1944.

Jack finally found the love of his life and married Margurite Fiocchetti, in February 1945 and two wonderful children followed in 1946 and 1947. This marriage lasted for the remaining 47 years of his life.

News-Palladium August 28, 1946

News-Palladium September 16, 1946

Ever the entrepreneur, Jack purchased land north of Paw Paw to develop an airport in May 1945.

Jack gave flying lessons and the airport played host to air shows in the 1940s and 1950s.

One of the most notable was the 1946 air show that occurred in conjunction with the annual Grape Festival. One of the planes crashed but no one was injured and the airport continued to prosper.

In the 1950s, Jack closed the airport, subdivided his farm and went into the real estate business. In September 1959 Jack built the first all-electric house in Paw Paw. It was sold before being completed and the newly formed Bellware Builders vowed to construct more.

Jack also helped organize the Cora Hills Golf Course

Jack had been active in county Republican politics since 1942 when he was elected a delegate to the Van Buren County Repbulican Convention. Twenty years later, in August 1962 he ran for county treasurer. He didn't make it past the primary, though.

Jack oversees a meal at the '68 reunion


Jack organized the first Bellware family reunion held at his home in Paw Paw on July 4, 1968. The tradition took a while to catch on but he participated in the next one in June 1987 after the family was contacted by Pete and Carol Bellware of Canada. This lead to a series of reunions that is still going on every three years or so.

Jack spent his winters in Tampa, Florida in a house formerly owned by his late brother Conn, selling some of the property to develop a shopping center next door. He enjoyed going the to greyhound races and Jai-Alai while there. Jack lived to see his four grandchildren born between 1971 and 1983. He died on in Paw Paw on February 21, 1992 and is buried in the St. Mary Cemetery.

Jack & Marge in Cocoa Beach with great grand nephews and niece in the mid 1980s




Ancestry of Jack Bellware



Marriage Date & Place


Emery Blouin

1669 Chateau-Richer, Quebec

Marie Carreau

Gabriel Blouin

1713 St. Jean IDO Quebec

Catherine Jahan

Jean Baptiste Blouin

1754 St. Jean IDO Quebec

Marie Anne Delage

Jean Joseph Blouin

1784 St. Vallier, Quebec

Marie Madeleine Remillard

Jean Francois Blouin

1818 Trois Rivieres, Quebec

Sophie Giroux

Francois Xavier Belouin

1844 Montreal, Quebec

Marguerite Duquette

Louis Bellware

1871 Frenchburg, Kentucky

Cynthia Trimble

John Shirley Bellware

1899 Frenchburg, Kentucky

Lillie Allen

John Shirley Bellware, Jr.

1945 Paw Paw, Michigan

Margurite Fiocchetti


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This page was last updated on June 4, 2009

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