John “Jack” Telnack was global vice president of design of the Ford Motor Company from 1980 to 1997. He is known for shaping some of Ford’s most iconic vehicles. Telnack was born in Detroit in 1937 and graduated from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena in 1958. He was offered a design job at Ford and moved up the ranks quickly, becoming a manager in just four years. In 1966, he was named chief designer for Ford of Australia, and served as the vice president of design for Ford of Europe in 1974. Jack Telnack and his wife live in Grosse Ile and are parishioners at Sacred Heart.
What is your biggest fear? Today’s blasé attitude toward taking the life of the unborn child.
What is your biggest pet peeve? All broadcast networks reading from the same script.
If you had unlimited resources, what would you do? I would ensure children in every economic stratum have access to quality education.
What is your favorite feast day? Easter.
What is your best quality? Concern for others.
What is the biggest risk you’ve taken? Proposing to Henry Ford II a new aerodynamic design direction.
What is one of your earliest memories? At age 4, Dad brought home a new maroon 1941 Ford Sedan … I really wanted a maroon Lincoln Continental convertible.
What virtue do you most admire in others? Sincerity and honesty.
What words do you use too much? “What’s for dinner?”
What gives you the most happiness? Being with my wife doing ordinary things in extraordinary places.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? I make the sign of the cross and ask for God’s blessing and direction for the day.
What talent or skill do you wish you had? A voice that did not sing off-key.
What are you most proud of? At age 17, I convinced my parents that I should drive cross-country to Pasadena, California, to attend college. I didn’t disappoint them.
What is your vision of heaven? A place where one will experience total and complete happiness in God’s presence … hope I can make it.
What was your first job? At 15, I was working at Bruno’s Delicatessen in the old Broadway Market in downtown Detroit
What is your most cherished possession? A bronze sculpture of the crown of thorns that I commissioned.
What is your most embarrassing moment? I forgot!
What is your favorite hobby or pastime? Sailing with no destination.
What do you value the most in your friends? Honesty and trustworthiness on all issues.
Who is your favorite author? Ken Follett.
Who is your fictional hero? Harry Callahan.
Which saint do you turn to for intercession the most? St. Padre Pio.
How do you define a “Missionary Disciple”? One who unabashedly shares Christ’s message of unbounded love. Our pastor, Father Marc Gawronski, (Sacred Heart, Grosse Ile) exemplifies this exuberance.
What keeps you up at night? The secular direction toward which our country is headed.
How do you want to be remembered when you die? That some of my designs gave pleasure and made hearts beat a little faster.
What is your life motto or mantra? If I’m truly honest with myself, I will be honest with others.
What makes you laugh? Watching some of the old-time comedians like Milton Berle, Lucille Ball and Johnny Carson.
How do you define success? Achieving the standards that I established for myself and helping others to attain theirs.