Old photo of a dark-haired man on an athletic field

Jack Peach bio

Born in Batesville, Mississippi, on January 4, 1931, Jack Peach was the son of Gerald and Anna Peach, a banker and schoolteacher. Jack had two younger sisters, Marion and Jenny.

In 1941, his family moved to Oxford when his father was offered the job of President of the Oxford Farm Bank and Trust. His mother went to work teaching English at Oxford Junior High.

An outcast in high school, Jack turned to athletics to fill his time. He never quite excelled in any one sport, being second string on the football team and warming the bench for the most part in baseball. He hung out at Louie's Gym, lifting weights and keeping to himself.

Jack worked part-time for Frank Valenti Sr. at his steak restaurant in his senior year in high school. When he graduated in 1948, he went to work for Valenti full time.

His attempts to enroll at the University of Mississippi to study writing were thwarted, so he quit his job with Valenti and joined Valenti's son, Frank Jr., doing freight work at the Bowlan Glove Factory. He wrote short stories and a novel on the side.

In 1950, Jack enlisted in the army and went to Korea. After being wounded in 1951, he returned to Oxford with an honorable discharge and purple heart and went back to work for Bowlan Glove.

In 1958, after his layoff from Bowlan, Jack attended the University of Mississippi under the GI Bill, majoring in physical education. Graduating early in 1960, Jack took a teaching and coaching position at Yoknapatawpha High School.

In 1963, with rumors of an affair with a high school senior, Jack left his job at the high school and joined Danahy, Booker, and Corey in the Free Life Commune on Thacker Mountain, where he returned to his writing.

There he met Isis Temple, an eccentric teenager from Meridian, Mississippi. The two married in 1964, shortly before the death of his good friends Danahy and Corey in a car accident.

Jack left the commune in 1965 with Isis and moved into Oxford.

Jack continued to write and published one novel, Fickle Sundays, which received little praise or support. He continued to live in Oxford and write for counterculture journals but had no children due to his infertility.

Isis divorced him in 1969, and Jack committed suicide the following year.



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