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of Mill Creek West Elementary School.
Small Town Indiana Janitor Surprises School with
Jack Eggers was a living snapshot of simpler times
gone by. He wasn’t into frills; he never subscribed
to cable, didn’t drive his car much, preferred to
grow his own food, and steered clear of the big
city—never straying far from tiny Amo, Indiana,
where he was born and raised.
Jack, a school janitor, preferred to live a poor
man’s existence. A year after his death, however,
Jack showed that his poor man’s life was really a
façade. Jack was saving every penny, so someday
after he was gone, he could do some good. He
accomplished his wishes by leaving sizeable bequests
to the school, church, and community he loved.
Todd Crosby is the principal of Mill Creek West
Elementary School in Hendricks County, the school
where Jack had worked since 1988. Crosby said Jack
lived a solitary existence at his modest,
two-bedroom house, but when he showed up for work,
he showered the students and staff with care and
Crosby fondly recalls, “The kids absolutely loved
him. Jack would give high fives to them, even though
he was 6’3,” and he’d have to crouch down to their
Crosby said when any kind of problem appeared, the
kids would scour the halls looking for Jack. They
respected and cared for him, the same way he cared
Jack was famous for remembering birthdays and
writing short poems for students and staff. He
didn’t have a family of his own, so he viewed the
students, in a sense, as his very own.
Crosby said, “That’s what’s so different between
businesses and schools, it’s more of a family
atmosphere. Jack was like a big daddy. He kept track
of and cared for everybody.”
There came a time when the favor of kindness would
have to be returned. In 2003, Jack was diagnosed
with an aggressive, rapidly moving brain tumor.
Crosby, who lost a family member to a similar
condition, helped take Jack to his doctor’s
appointments in Indianapolis, along with neighbors,
school staff members, and friends.
Crosby said Jack didn’t like traveling to the city,
and even more to his dislike, was not being able to
rely solely on himself.
“He knew he had to trust the doctors in what they
had to do, but he didn’t like the fact that other
people had to take care of him. He was used taking
care of himself, and he didn’t want a lot of
attention on himself.”
Jack had surgery, but it only briefly slowed the
tumor’s progress. He took a leave of absence from
his janitorial duties, but later decided to retire.
Even while enduring all the pain, he managed to stop
by the school to visit the kids from time to time.
The students and staff all received frequent updates
on his progress. In winter of 2004, Jack died at age
A year later, Jack’s goodness was revealed to
everyone in a most unexpected way. Jack, who never
bought fancy clothes or nice things, had amassed a
large amount in savings. When his estate was settled
in early 2005, Mill Creek West Elementary School
received a whopping sum of $80,000 from Jack’s last
will and testament.
Crosby said, “When we were told the amount it was
shocking. We just found out this past winter, two
weeks before the checks arrived. The school board
approved the acceptance of the donations.”
Jack also left an undisclosed amount to Amo Baptist
Church and another $120,000 to the Hendricks County
At Mill Creek West, his money will be split in half
between a new playground and a general fund. The
playground, since it’s used by the entire community,
will be converted into a family friendly park with
walking trails and all the latest and best
playground equipment. The grounds will be named
“Jack Eggers Memorial Playground.”
The school library will get an update, and its crown
jewel will be “Jack’s Corner,” a place full of
poetry books and nice artwork—to celebrate Jack’s
love of writing and drawing.
News of Jack’s bequests made local headlines, and
Crosby knows Jack wouldn’t like any kind of public
recognition. His only wish would be that the
children of Mill Creek West would remain happy,
healthy, and safe.
“Jack was so dedicated to everyone here. He cared
about everyone who walked in the door, said Crosby.”
And in a school where reading, writing, and
arithmetic are the main focus, Jack taught lessons
of kindness that will last a lifetime.
“We don’t think about people when we’re with them.
It always hits you when they’re gone. But even in
his passing his legacy will live on.”
A LEGACY® wishes to thank Mill
Creek West Elementary School for sharing this story.