Jack Bretz’s determination and strength made him an accomplished martial artist with black belts in The Chuck Norris System and Tang Soo Do. But his courage in his quiet fight against leukemia is what most inspired his SigEp brothers and the Charlotte community. “He was a beautiful soul, an outstanding brother and a wonderful friend,” said his SigEp big brother, Hazen Warlick, ’14. “Jack was never truly beaten, because he never gave up.”
Bretz often spoke of his strong belief in striving to achieve the ideals of the Balanced Man Program. He formed a unique comradeship with late Past Grand President Phillip A. Cox, Indiana ’84, who was also battling cancer, when Cox visited Bretz’s home during a trip to meet with the North Carolina-Charlotte Chapter in September 2013. Knowing Bretz would lose his hair while undergoing chemotherapy, his chapter brothers shaved their heads at a charity event that raised $6,000 for the American Cancer Society.
Impressed by Bretz’s positive attitude, Charlotte nonprofit Dream On 3 fulfilled his wish to meet actor and martial arts Grand Master Chuck Norris in July 2014. Bretz formed a lasting bond with Norris and his wife, Gena. “It was an honor to promote Jack to black belt. But it was an even greater honor to know him as the great person he was, and will be remembered for,” said Norris. “I look forward to the day I see you in heaven. We love and miss you.”