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Construction folk honor Jack Batzer

The Home Builders of Jackson County honored a legend in local construction Tuesday night during the group's annual dinner at Rogue Valley Manor's Skyline Plaza.

, 88, whose family business toils on structures in four states, was honored for a lifetime of service by his fellow builders.

I've known Jack for 40 years and he's always been known for his work ethic and honesty, said Jim Nistler, a veteran contractor. People have an incredible amount of respect for this man.

Batzer was a Navy Seabee in the South Pacific during World War II. Coming to Medford after the war, Batzer worked for several construction companies on housing and school project. He was the construction superintendent when Hedrick Junior High was built in 1955 and that experience led to him start his own firm.

I had a pretty good reputation and I figured if I was worth that much to somebody else, I ought to see what I could do for myself, he later told a family member.

— As he and his wife had their sixth child in October 1955, he launched Batzer Construction. The first project was a concrete job that earned &

36;2,500 in 10 days.

He worked first out of his house on Holly Street then set up shop at Ross Lane, where the company still has its headquarters. His company built the Mount Ashland Ski Lodge as well as the weather station on Mount Ashland and remodeled buildings at Crater Lake National Park.

He was in on the Robinson Building, Stathos Building and Amertitle office buildings as well as Hidden Valley High School and Sacred Heart School's rebuild.

Batzer Construction has worked on 17 church projects, ranging from First Christian Church in 1964 to the Sacred Heart rectory.

The company erected about 1,000 electricity-producing windmills in California at Tehachapi, Livermore and Palm Springs in the 1980s. He took part in restoration work in Jacksonville and remodeling the Kodak Plant in White City.

He once noted there were few downtown Medford buildings that hadn't been touched by his crews.

In 1995, Batzer Construction received the Skill, Integrity and Responsibility Award from the Associated General Contractors of Oregon. Last year, Batzer was named Contractor of the Year by the Oregon Building Congress.

is unique, Nistler said We can wait another 20 years and there won't be anybody else to repeat the things he's done.

Jack Batzer