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Sign Vet Jack Mostert Passes Away at 96

He founded his shop in 1947. Now his daughter carries his sign legacy.

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Sign industry veteran John “Jack” Frederick Theobald Mostert, Jr., 96, passed away on April 11. 

Starting as an artist about 80 years ago, Mostert’s first job at age 16 was blowing neon with a sign company in Memphis, TN. At the beginning of World War II, he began Cadet training and by the end of 1943 he was commissioned to the US Army Air Corps. Mostert finished navigator training in 1945 and was preparing to be shipped to Japan shortly before the war ended and he was sent home.

In 1947, Mostert founded Mostert and Ferguson (now Artisan Signs & Lighting) when he had just started school at the Art Institute of Chicago. During the early years, the company specialized in sign lettering, gold leaf and neon signs. The business expanded its services in 1977 with the acquisition of Artisan Signs & Lighting (Orland Park, IL), a manufacturing plant known for channel letters, box signs, pylons and EMCs. 

Never afraid of heights, over the years Mostert was commissioned to paint towering brick walls with ads for businesses, dangerous train overpasses and even lettered water towers in his 80’s. 

In 2008, he retired and passed down his sign legacy to his daughter Ruth Pellegrini, who now owns the full-service sign and lighting company. She says her father “was known as the best sign man in Chicago in his prime.” 

When Mostert traveled to Mount Rushmore at the age of 92, he said he related to the men who carved the presidents from stone, according to his obituary. He is preceded in death by his wife Charlotte Mostert, son and grandson — and survived by his brother, six children, foster daughter, 31 grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren, many nieces and nephews, and his church community, as well as his calico cat.

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For more on Mostert’s life, visit heartlandmemorial.com.

Kelsie Petersen is an editorial intern with Signs of the Times. She is currently in the process of finishing her degree at the University of Cincinnati.

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