Before the superflu, Jack had been married and divorced twice, and had two young boys, Jack Jr. (12) and Steve (10). Living in the Los Angeles area, he had dreams of doing something great, but could never quite find the right job, and instead ended up constantly moving from one bad situation to the next. He worked at Kinko's fixing copy machines, sold televisions at Circuit City, briefly worked as an electrician's apprentice and even a plumber while trying to sell his novel. The lack of steady income didn't help either marriage, either. Though he had stormy relationships with both wives before and after divorce, he adored his children and was heartbroken when he lost them to the flu.

When it became clear that the flu was more than a passing thing and the dreams began, Jack knew that while he may have been nothing in the old world, he had a chance to be something, to help in Boulder. He had real skills that could be of use he knew it. Mother Abigail had called to him, told him so. At last leaving the pain of his dead loved ones behind, he packed up a few supplies, put on his favorite blue t-shirt and jeans and a pair of hiking boots, and headed out for the long journey.

Along the way, he encountered a few groups of people, and quickly learned that it was best to scope them out from a hidden vantage point before approaching. Not everyone was as relieved as he to find others who were alive in fact, many who survived were bound for a darker place. Not only that, but Jack discovered the immortal world the hard way by nearly walking into a battle between two.

He had the entire immortal issue explained to him by one unlikely travel companion who decided to hitch along to Boulder with Jack: a 152-year-old "boy" named Edwin Chasen.

Once in Boulder, Jack met and fell in love with a blind woman named Sheila. Unfortunately, she was one of the many killed in the explosions.