Y-12 honors past plant manager and building's namesake, Jack Case

Posted: December 30, 2014 - 12:51pm

Family members of former Y‑12 Plant Manager Jack Case (1967-1982) recently stopped by the Jack Case Center to check out a new display of a few of his items, some donated by them and others brought out of the Y‑12 historical archives. Brothers Larry and Patrick, along with sister Linda Fellers, donated the artifacts and some valuable historic information about their father to help the keepers of Y‑12's history share the legacy of the building's namesake.

"Most people that work at Y‑12 today don't remember my dad," said Patrick Case, the youngest of the siblings. "If I worked in this building, I'd want to know who in the world Jack Case is. This display is not only a great tribute to him, but it's a good way for people coming in and out of this building to quickly get a sense of why they named a building after him."

Artifacts of Case's include his retirement certificate, his pen set and his umbrella from his office in the old administration building 9704-2, and a bust of Case that was a birthday present from the wife of a long-time co-worker.

"Jack and seven other men came down from Alton, Illinois in 1943 to work at Y‑12 because of their skills as craftsmen," said Y‑12 Historian Ray Smith. "Vivian Austin was the wife of Russell "Dude" Austin, one of the eight from Illinois, and she was good friends with Jack's wife Hazel. She also was a ceramics artist. The bust she made of Jack is ceramic and glazed to look like it's bronze."

The bust, as well as a copy of the family's portrait of Case, is displayed in the lobby area of the Jack Case Center. Smith and Jennifer Dixon of Environmental Compliance completed the exhibit by creating a looping video that tells the story of the machinist from Illinois who rose through the ranks to become plant manager. Case is credited with bringing the technology to precision machine uranium parts to Y‑12 and thus reviving the site's significance to America's nuclear defense mission.

If you can't make it by the lobby, you can check out the history of the man and his architectural namesake in the History section of the website.

Follow Y-12 on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.