‘Black Jack Daniels’ left mark on wrestling foes

Jack Danielson, 83, spent final 30 years in Forest Lake


Jack Danielson, aka ‘Black Jack Daniels,’ right, gained fame as the tag-team partner of his brother-in-law Stan ‘Krusher’ Kowalski. (Photo courtesy of Danielson family)

Clint Riese
Staff Writer

Jack Danielson drew a significant following in the late ’60s and early ’70s as a fierce professional wrestler who thrilled crowds with displays of bravery and brawn.

The Forest Lake resident passed away on Thursday, July 25, leaving loved ones to reminisce not only about ‘Black Jack Daniels,’ but also about the man who would do anything for anybody outside the ring.

“I never heard anybody say anything bad about him,” says Geno Danielson, one of Jack’s two sons. “He was just a really big teddy bear in the inside.”

Danielson, a Minneapolis native, retired from wrestling in 1972 and moved to Forest Lake upon taking a job at a nursery farm in Lino Lakes.

‘Black Jack’ after a match.

It may be hard for some here to believe that the Jack Danielson known around these parts was the same guy who took on Victor the Wrestling Bear or tag-teamed with his brother-in-law, Stan “Krusher” Kowalski, to body slam the likes of “Haystacks” Calhoun and “Wahoo” McDaniel.

Black Jack and Krusher won a handful of titles, peaking with the NWA Southern Tag Team Title in 1967. In all, Black Jack took part in over 200 matches from about 1950 to 1972.

After serving in the Navy during the Korean War, Danielson used his size and strength to become a bouncer. He happened to work at the Flame bar in Minneapolis, a hot spot for pro wrestlers.

“All the wrestlers would go in there and cause trouble and he’d be the one to throw them out,” said Geno Danielson. “Finally they asked him, ‘Hey, why don’t you join us?’”

Jack Danielson was 83. A gathering of family and friends was Sunday, July 29 at Roberts Family Funeral Home, Forest Lake.

Family interment was at Crystal Lake Cemetery, Minneapolis.

He is survived by sons, Jack (DeAnn) and Geno (Bekah); grandchildren Tori, Sammy, Nathan, Jay (Danielle), Sam (Michelle), Diondra and Danielle; great-grandchildren, Jack, Ryder and Mia; brother-in-law and tag-team wrestling partner, Stan Kowalski; niece, Stacy Smith; nephew, Scott (Mickie) Smith;  four great-nieces and great-nephews.

He was preceded in death by one daughter, Princess Gentry; parents, Elmer and Sadie; one sister, Cleo Smith; and half-brother, John Danielson.