Monday, July 15, 2013

Jack Kolb, Past Minikahda Superintendent Passed Away.

I had the pleasure of meeting Jack a few years ago.  I had invited Jack to see the golf course and talk to me about his time here at Minikahda.  Many changes had taken place on the golf course since Jack's time as Superintendent but he really enjoyed touring the course.  Jack was still driving at the time and his mind was as sharp as a tack. I'm glad I had the chance to show him around one last time.  

Minnesota Golf Course Superintendents' Association
July 14, 2013
Jack Kolb, an icon in the Minnesota golf turf industry, passed away on July 10, in an outpatient Hospice Home in St. Cloud, MN.  His family was at his side and he went peacefully.  The following is an excerpt from the January 1991 Hole Notes magazine that highlighted Jack's carrier as a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award.

"When Jack Kolb was graduated from high school in 1941, the United States was preparing for war. There was little time to plan a career, so Jack left a job as a Wisconsin cheesemaker near Green Bay and took up work as a shipfitter, building submarines at Manitowoc, Wis. In 1942 Jack was drafted into the Navy and was trained as a torpedoman with the Pacific Submarine Command. Most of his Navy career was spent on Midway Island.

Upon discharge, he enrolled at the University of Minnesota, intent on being a forester; however, he felt that a certain dark-eyed young lady was not about to be a homemaker in a cabin deep in the woods. So, after a change in majors, and 240 credits later, he was graduated with a degree in Plant Industry.

Jack's first job was as a fertilizer salesman with the old Farm Bureau Service Company in 1950. In 1953, Jack was hired by Dr. James Watson and went to work for the Toro company as an agronomist. After a few years and because the pay was better, Jack became golf course superintendent with The Minikahda Club.  After 10 years at Minikahda, he moved to Minneapolis Golf Club for a few more seasons. During this time he evaluated the turf industry and the idea of Turf Supply Company was conceived.

Jack left Minneapolis Golf Club on Dec. 31, 1969. Turf Supply Company was born the next day. Not one sale was recorded for the first three months of its existence. During this time his wife, Rajah, and five children under 11 years of age operated on a very low budget. Eventually, the business grew, and the next 21 years saw many new innovations in marketing.  One of Jack's hobbies was writing.  Several of his articles were published in the old Golfdom magazine. One of his treasured letters is a four-page document from Herb Graff is, editor of Golfdom, commending Jack for his approach on the golf course superintendent's role in the golf industry."

Mr. Kolb mentored many aspiring turf professionals and will be remembered as a strong leader of the industry.

He was a devoted husband, a loving father, and an excellent role model to his grandchildren. His generous spirit lead to his widespread involvement in the community to include: The Serra Club, The Knights of Columbus, and his parish community of St. Joseph's in West St. Paul, to name a few.

Jack is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Rajah, and their five children Michael Kolb, Dekalb, IL; Melanie Schmidt (Christian), St. Cloud, MN; David Kolb (Karen),Minnetrista, MN; John Kolb (Susan), St. Cloud, MN; and Amelia Daniels (Richard), Eau Claire, WI. He is also survived by 17 grandchildren, his brother, James, sister, Margaret and many dear friends and relatives. He is preceded in death by his parents Conrad and Ruth Kolb and his sister Alice.
The family would like to thank Quiet Oaks Hospice in St. Augusta, MN and the staff at St. Benedict's Senior Center in St. Cloud, MN for their loving care and support.

A visitation will be held Sunday, July 14 from 3:00-6:00 pm at Klecatsky and Sons Funeral Home in West St. Paul. A mass of Christian burial will be 11:00 am on Monday,July 15, 2013 at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in West St. Paul. Friends and relatives may call one hour prior to the service at the church.

Memorials are preferred to donor's choice.

More information about Mr. Kolb can also be found at:

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