Family members of lifelong Hilliard resident Jack Headlee will carry on his namesake business as Jack's Appliances celebrates its 50th anniversary next year.

Family members of lifelong Hilliard resident Jack Headlee will carry on his namesake business as Jack's Appliances celebrates its 50th anniversary next year.

Headlee, 87, and a former member of Hilliard City Council, died May 21.

A 1942 graduate of Hilliard High School, Headlee served in the U.S. Army during World War II before returning to Hilliard, marrying and working at the Russell Grain Co., whose defunct grain towers loomed above Old Hilliard until they were razed in January 2009.

Upon surmising that Russell Grain Co. would soon close, Headlee chose to open his own business.

In 1962, he opened J&L Wash & Dry, the initials of himself and his wife, Lavonne, on Center Street in Old Hilliard, next door to the original office of the Hilliard Northwest News when it was first opened by publisher Wayne Brown.

The following year, he opened Jack's Appliances next door to the laundromat.

The Russell Grain Co. had sold appliances, so Headlee was familiar with the trade. For about 10 years, he operated both.

"To anyone who didn't know, they would have appeared to be wholly separate businesses," said his son-in-law, Rick Tidd, who owns Tidd Funeral Home on Norwich Street, around the corner from the appliance store.

About 1975, Headlee sold his laundromat interest to an employee, but when the laundromat closed, he expanded the appliance store, having maintained ownership of both storefronts.

After a mild heart attack in 1986, Headlee retired, Tidd said, turning over the daily operation of Jack's Appliances to his daughter, Sheila Mitchell, and son-in-law, Dave Mitchell.

Today, the Mitchells and their two children, Mark and Chris, own and operate Jack's Appliances.

Headlee served one term on Hilliard City Council, in the mid 1950s, family members said, and was instrumental in founding the Hilliard Area Chamber of Commerce.

Headlee, the late Paul Rider and Reynold Rausch, owner of the Dairy Queen, were among those who founded Hilliard Business Owner's Association, Tidd said.

He was a lifetime member of the Northwest Franklin County Historical Society.

At the time of his death, he was the oldest past commander of American Legion Memorial Post 614.

"He always said his fondest memories were being with family," said Tidd, recounting the apple dumplings he made with each of his six grandchildren.

After his retirement, Headlee and his wife spent less time in Hilliard, living in Florida during winter and parts of the summer at Indian Lake.

"He was always close with his grandchildren and was a family man," said his son-in-law, Dave Mitchell.

Headlee is survived by his wife of 68 years, Lavonne; children, Sheila (Dave) Mitchell; Arlene (Rick) Tidd; Dianna (Donald) Schwerin; six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.