Cover photo for Jackson E. Kinzer's Obituary
Jackson E. Kinzer Profile Photo
1930 Jackson 2024

Jackson E. Kinzer

December 2, 1930 — February 6, 2024

Davenport, Lake Zurich

Jackson E. Kinzer, 93, of Hawthorn Woods, passed away peacefully at his home on February 6, 2024. He was born on December 2, 1930, in New Orleans, LA to the late Jackson and Bernice Kinzer.

Jackson was a proud veteran of the United States Army, serving from 1952-1955 and was honorably discharged with the rank of 1stLieutenant. He earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Nuclear Physics at Virginia Tech University.

Jackson’s brilliance, integrity and natural charm led him to senior executive positions with numerous fortune 500 companies involved in major government contracts. As the Cold War intensified, Jackson was one of the Country’s most recognized experts in the nuclear industry, being one of the few US citizens to hold a Q clearance, working at highly sensitive locations throughout the country. He was especially sought after to “right the ship” on billion-dollar projects that were over budget and behind schedule. He also became a recognized authority on dismantling weapons of mass destruction.

Jackson was very passionate about family and work, and lived by the values of integrity, earning your way, and excellence in all you do. Jackson was a great mentor and storyteller whose narratives often became parables for those who sought his sage advice. His stories included quotes or sayings that to this day his kids, grandkids and perhaps others, repeat regularly:

Never do anything half-ass, do it right the first time
Don’t step over a dollar to grab a penny
Don’t let them take your meter out (get the best of you)
Keep your eye on the big picture, don’t sweat the small stuff
It takes years to develop a reputation for honesty and fair dealing, but only a one ethical lapse to damage your good name
Treat awards or accolades like gum…chew them long enough to get the taste, but don’t swallow it.

A tinkerer by nature, Jackson took special pride in his ability to invent new items and repair anything. He once designed and built one of the first ever rotary engines in the family garage using his beloved milling machine. Jackson never stopped innovating, designing and milling inventions in his basement lab.

His young spirit led him to great adventures, whether he was trekking the length of the Grand Canyon, traveling around the world, or skiing at the Norge Ski Jump (a hobby he started at 80!)

Jackson is survived by his loving wife of 32 years, Barbara (nee Donahue); sons, Craig (Danna) and Scott (Suzanne) Kinzer; grandchildren, Austin and Savannah Kinzer, Charisse (Justin) Hendrickson, great grandson Jeffery; grandsons Connor (Natalie) and Sean (Kaitlin) Kinzer.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his grandson, Marshall Kinzer.

Visitation will be held on Friday, February 9, from 9:30am until the funeral service at 10am at Davenport Family Funeral Home and Crematory, 941 S. Old Rand Rd., Lake Zurich, IL 60047. Entombment will be private at All Saints Catholic Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Mercy Home for Boys & Girls, 1140 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL, 60607, .

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Jackson E. Kinzer, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, February 9, 2024

9:30 - 10:00 am (Central time)

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Funeral Service

Friday, February 9, 2024

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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