Jack Prejza (T-8)

May 21, 2020

John Prejza Jr. (Jack), age 78, passed away peacefully on May 21, 2020 at his home in Half Moon Bay, CA.

Jack was born at home in Monessen, PA on the coldest day of the Winter. Moving to Antioch, CA in 1949. He graduated from Antioch High School in 1959. After receiving an AA degree from Diablo Valley College, he moved on to San Francisco State University graduating in 1964 with a BA in Literature and Language Arts.

Jack joined the Peace Corps in 1965. Stationed in Artvin, Turkey where he taught ESL for Turkish students from Elementary through High School ages. He also taught Teachers College and Night School.

The Peace Corps was a magical time indeed, as there he met his future wife. Jack married Stephanie Strelkauskas on July 13th 1968 in Newark, NJ. For their honeymoon they travelled cross country to California, in Jack’s first bought car, a 1968 Camaro.

He began his stellar teaching career in Burlingame. He primarily taught 7th and 8th grade English at Burlingame Intermediate School, but the list does not stop there. Prior to his retirement from BIS in 2001, he would pilot the first 7th grade Core class (English & Social Studies), start a student television network, co-found Schoolympics, produce over 60 school plays, and receive Teacher of the Year award in 1987. 

In 1976 Jack took on a second career, co-authoring the Scott Foresman national spelling textbook. This textbook was used by students in grades 1 thru 8 nationwide through two editions. Let us not forget Jack authored 5 pulp detective novels (as yet unpublished).

Jack is survived by his wife of 52 years Stephanie (also T-8), his son Christian (Gabriela), sisters Pat Prejza and Kathie Fitzpatrick, and their families. Memorial services for Jack will be held at a future date when his family can all get together to celebrate a truly blessed life.

Association of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and Friends of Turkey