Jack Nelson of Jack's Locust Street Tap fame here in Davenport died yesterday after he suffered a debilitating heart attack on Tuesday evening and had slipped into a coma. Jack had been in Florida for a few days and had come back to Iowa for Christmas. He was out blowing snow on Tuesday evening when he came in and told his wife that he didn't feel very well. He then suffered a major heart attack. I was told that the paramedics had to bring Jack back to life as they transported him to the hospital.
It turned out Jack had some major blockage in his arteries. They put three stents in him during emergency surgery. However, Jack remained in a coma, only able to flutter his eyes a bit from time to time. The heart attack was so massive, doctors thought there would be some permanent brain damage if he were able to live. But yesterday, he died peacefully with his family at his side.
When I first moved to Davenport 17 plus years ago, one of the first places I frequented was Jack's Locust Street Tap (see map). Not only was it a working class bar, but it was a working class bar with a great burger. Jack was one of the first people I met when I was out scouting around for bars and the like. Jack's - or the LST - became sort of a "home away from home" for me, much to the consternation of my wife who never cared for the place all that much.
Jack also owned two other very popular bars in the area - the Gallery and the Mound Street Landing. The Gallery (see map) catered more to the "middle-aged singles" crowd, while Mound Street Landing (see map) was a popular destination with the younger crowd, especially on the weekends when they'd host bands. All three bars have been tremendous money-makers for Jack.
While I'm not ever certain Jack knew my name - "How's it goin'?" was his usual greeting to me, But I'm not ever certain if I could have understood Jack if he DID say my name. He had a very distinctive speech pattern that was sort of hard to understand. In fact, they used to call it "Jackanese". They have a plaque above the bar at Jack's Locust Street Tap that says "Jackanese Spoken Here." He was a very fast talker and didn't quite form all of his words in the process.
But even though I had trouble understanding him, Jack and I would have conversations about Las Vegas (he loved going to Las Vegas), televisions (he knew I was in the AV industry), sports (especially his beloved New Orleans Saints), and our mutual self-professed love of a great chili dog.
It turns out that Jack's daughter, Gina, and her husband, Tony, live just down the street from us in a house that looks almost identical to ours. The funny thing is that our street address is 2541 and Gina and Tony's place is 2514. Same color of house. Same long driveway with detached garage in the back. Same sized picture window. Same floor layout. Most likely from the same builder. Jack bought the house for Gina and Tony before they got married. We hadn't lived in our house any more than a year before Jack bought that one. So we'd talk about the neighborhood from time to time.
58 is too young for a guy to die. Jack wasn't a smoker, nor was he particularly overweight. He was a very active guy. You just never know when it comes to the heart, I guess. He lived life to its fullest and always had a gaggle of friends around him when he'd sit at his bar and have a drink after a round of golf. It's not going to be the same without Jack around. He'll be missed.