Featured Resident – Jack Covington
Jackie Ray “Jack” Covington was the third and final son born to Ira and Hazel Covington. His brothers were Ira James and William Wallace. He was born in Wynnewood, OK in his 2nd cousin’s doctor’s office, which was above his dad’s Texaco station. When he was two, the family moved to Grand Prairie, TX. His father was killed by a drunk driver in an auto accident when Jack was only five years old. He was present when his mother was informed. She explained to him what it meant and also shared more about salvation, which his father had previously shared with him. This event led to his salvation. His brothers as well grew and matured in their faith,
Jack’s mom went back to school and got her master’s degree in English. She taught third grade at the same school Jack attended. School was easy for Jack. He loved English but wasn’t a big fan of sciences. Jack loved sports. He played little league baseball and church softball. He started working at age 12 as an usher at the Uptown Theater. When he was 15 ½, he went to work as a commissary cook at the Red R Coffee Shop. In high school, he played football and competed in track and field. Jack graduated high school in 1967.
Jack grew up with Jenny Higgins. As a matter of fact, he jokes about them starting to sleep together 73 years ago. This stems from the fact that they shared a crib in their church nursery. They were good friends until the day they decided they could be more than friends. He was 17 and she was 16 when they started dating. They married three years later. Their families were not in favor of it, but his mother did sign for him because Jack was not 21.
The couple moved into a rented duplex in Grand Prairie. Jack got a job working as a lab technician at Mary Kay’s production company. He also attended college full-time at the University of North Texas at Denton (an hour away) working towards his pre-med degree. He received a bachelor degree in Science with a minor in English in 1973. He then started working on his Master’s degree. He graduated with a Masters in English and a minor in sciences in 1975. After his Master’s was done, he went back to school for an education certificate. He has many hours toward a doctorate.
Besides all of this, Jack and Jenny started their family. Their son, Christopher Ray, was born in 1972 and their daughter, April Dawn, was born in 1976. Jack credits Jenny for her raising such great kids because he was gone so much.
Jack started teaching high school science in the Arlington School District in 1975. He wanted to teach English, but there was not an opening. He was told if he taught science for a year they would then move him to teaching English. In 1980, he was one of three teachers that were selected to be involved with the CACTIP humanities project, which was finding better ways to teach English in college. He taught half a day at the high school and half the day at the University of Texas at Arlington. He eventually retired from high school and taught only at the University. He also taught online classes awhile for the University of Phoenix and later Mary-Hardin Baylor. He eventually went part time before retiring completely in 2021.
Church has always been an important part of Jack and Jenny’s life. They started out in the Methodist church and later switched to Baptist. First Baptist of Belton TX offered seminary courses. Jack and Jenny took somewhere between 30-40 hours of courses through there. They attended the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor for a three year program to become ministers for small churches. He became an ordained minister and she a commissioned minister. Jack’s specialty was working with first responders and Jenny’s working with the families of first responders.
The couple has traveled to Europe to visit their kids who were stationed overseas. They have also traveled a lot through the lower 48 states.
Jack’s hobbies include reading, online chess and games such as Farkle and Skipbo. He ran fifteen miles a day until about five years ago when his legs started giving out. He and Jenny continued to walk as well. They moved to Indiana to be near their son and his family in 2009. They spent spring and summer in Indiana and fall and winter in Texas.
The couple moved to Westbrook in October 2021 to be closer to their daughter. They had to move stuff from Texas and Indiana and then consolidate into their apartment. Jack loves getting to know all the residents. He enjoys the staff. He and Jenny pray for each staff member daily. He also likes the activities. He and Jenny are currently leading a Bible study for the residents called “O God! What a Character!” on the first and third Wednesday evenings at 6:00pm.
Jack’s dad was raised by his mom and step dad. They called him Buster. He thought his name was Buster Bulen until kindergarten when they called for Ira Thetis Covington. He didn’t raise his hand though. Because of this story, Jack uses Buster Bulen as a pen name. He has written several short stories and poems; some even have been published. Another family story – His Grandma Luna was the VFW National Mother of the Year because all six of her children served in the military during WWII. Not only that but Luna herself as well as all of her kid’s spouses served in support capacities.
Jack and Jenny have five grandchildren – Jeni, Grace, Bethany, Carter and Daniel and a son-in-law, Warren When asked for words of wisdom or a life lesson learned, Jack posed a question that he feels encompasses every area of life. “What else do you need to know, that you don’t already know, to be able to do what you need to do?”