Most likely conceived on the night of his father’s 26th birthday - his folks had been married almost 3 months and this was their first shared birthday celebration - Jock was born exactly 9 months after this night of love. And that wasn’t even his real name. Paul Otto Tanck IV was his hereditary nomenclature, but his common appellation was taken from his father’s high school best friend’s nickname, that of Bob Veryzer, who later designed the 1963 Corvette split-rear-window Stingray. Obviously, his folks didn’t want to call him Paul - too confusing with there now being two of them in the household, or Junior - too pedestrian, or even Sonny - although he was very bright.
Raised a staunch Lutheran, in Valparaiso, Indiana - the peak of radical Missouri Synod-hood, as well as popcorn capitol of the United States (thanks, Orville!) - he attended Immanuel Lutheran parochial school for 8 years, where religious fervor was taught to him at least 7+ hours per week, plus 8 AM Sunday church service, followed by Sunday school or bible discussion class or catechism study; weekly rituals through his 18th birthday. Then the family would stop by the bakery for fresh doughnuts and sweet rolls, and he’d flop on the dining room floor in the sunshine and eat and read the Sunday paper. But as soon as he was off to college, his continued connection with organized religion quickly withered. Enough, already - I’ve got it, he felt. In fact, later, he married a Jew. But then, so did his sister, so what does that tell ya?
In grade school, he was always at the top of his class. He garnered numerous awards in local science fairs, NISBOVA (Northern Indiana School Band Orchestra Vocal Association), Cub Scouts, and the YMCA swim and diving team. He once practiced his back flip from the diving board and whomped his head on the board, bringing a hush to the witnessing crowd, and a bloody film to the surface of the pool. Inevitably, the end of his diving career. Sadly, he’s lost all these prize ribbons, medallions and patches from that era, much to his current dismay.
High school brought class commendations: Junior class treasurer, National Honor Society President, King of Hearts Court Prince, National Mathematics Society scholar. He was one of the true bubbleheads at VHS - but he hung with Steve Buck, part of the athletic clique. He also took 2 hours of art classes daily, projecting his future path into the artistic world. He was graduated in 1968 after shaking Bobby Kennedy’s hand and ditching class to hear R. Buckminster Fuller speak.
He then attended N.C.S.U. - first refused attendance but then accepted thanks to the behind-the-scenes recommendation of Bob Veryzer. After 5 years of Southern college matriculation, 3.2 beer, and pseudo-sophistication, he became his own Paul-new-man. Having garnered positions as Managing Editor of the school newspaper, Vice President of the Student Union - where he and Wayne Forte absconded with some of the profits from a concert weekend and partied-down in Florida for a few days before graduation - member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honors Fraternity - inducted in full cowboy regalia, high with his bud Carl Bridgers - he was graduated with High Honors in 1973 from the North Carolina State University School of Design with a Bachelor of Environmental Design - BED degree - Graphic Design Option program. Vincent Foote was his mentor, after introducing him to the world of martinis and artichokes.
Life became kind of gregarious for him then, and no one knew if he was hitchin’ a ride in Northern New Hampshire - Carlie Smith had offered him his first post-college job opportunity there five minutes after he’d graduated - or skinny-dipping in an anti-Bible-society heretical pond, or building houses in Virginia, or smoking pot with Reggie Jackson in Berkeley, or catching perfect waves in So. Cal. Maybe lookin’ for babes at the nude beach - it worked the very first day with Janet Planet, a great sun-burned butt day.
In 1977, Elvis died on his birthday, Madonna turned 19 and Robert Mitchum turned 60. Way back in 1948, Babe Ruth also died at 53 on this day. And way way back in 1829, siamses twins Chang & Eng Bunker arrived in Boston to be exhibited by P.T. Barnum.
Marcia arrived at his 28th surprise birthday party in her ‘59 Morgan sportscar and they’ve been together since. In fact, on August 22nd, they snuck into a Frank Stella closed exhibition at Newport Beach, just as he was introducing her to his most prominent art love. All things became sealed as they talked their way in past the guard. Their lives were locked.
At his brother Mike’s wedding in 1979 he wore Cher’s red glitter socks and all of southern Indiana went nuts once the word got out. It was like an ankle riot. It was the same year he appeared in Who’s Who in California.
They’ve co-habitated now for more than 25 years, got married off the North American continent - not by the boat captain on the way to Catalina as they had hoped - and have raised Zack - Paul Otto Tanck V, another nickname in the family tradition, born in 1985 - to be as cool as possible. He’s another great artist-to-be. He’s already won many artistic awards. And photo awards. And drama…
Marcia continues her career as gourmet chef to the most lucky people in Los Angeles - the Tanck family included - and Paul has won numerous graphic design awards throughout his 30+-year freelance design career. His design work has appeared in national periodicals, network commercials, and is also visible worldwide on the web.
Their entire family resounds in the fact that they love their life in Venice California - So. Cal.’s largest tourist attraction, even more than Disneyland or Universal Studios - and that they’re lucky enough to track the path of constellations - especially Orion in the winter - during their trek through the skies from their cozy bench on their deck in their back yard, under their palm tree.
Born: Wednesday August 16, 1950, 12:59a.m., Community Hospital, Boulder Colorado
Baptised: September 10, 1950, Grace Lutheran Church, Boulder Colorado
Rev. Theo. Schabacker
Confirmed: May 17, 1964, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Valparaiso Indiana
Rev. Mack Goeglein
High school graduation: June 2, 1968, Valparaiso High School, Valparaiso Indiana
College graduation: June 16, 1973, Bachelor of Environmental Design
Graphic Design option, North Carolina State University, Raleigh North Carolina
Occupation: Graphic designer & Art director, histographer, substitute teacher
Wedding: August 20, 1983, Avalon, Catalina Island, California
Fern Dailey, Justice of the Peace