Jack Preston Held passed from this life on February 5, 2018. He was born on May 3, 1926 to parents Preston and Mary-Agnes Held in Cleveland, OH. As a child and teen, he took classes and acted at the Cleveland Playhouse, the oldest community theater in North America, where he earned his Actors Equity card.
After graduating from High School in 1944, Jack enlisted in the Army and served as company clerk in the Judge Advocate’s Office in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Following Army service, Jack returned to Cleveland’s Western Reserve University where he earned his BA degree. He then moved to UCLA in California to complete a Master’s degree in 1954 with additional post-graduate work at the famous Pasadena Playhouse School. While at UCLA, he was proud to have mentored Carol Burnett, an undergraduate at the time.
Jack began his career in education by teaching English and Speech at Antelope Valley High School and later created the theater program at the new Antelope Valley College between 1961-70.
In 1970, Jack travelled to Austria, where he taught English in a High School in Krems. On returning to the states, he taught and directed plays in the San Jose, CA area between 1973-87.
In 1988 he moved to Morgantown, WV to retire but his long-time friend and former student James Brown encouraged him to apply for an open Voice and Speech position with the School of Theatre at WVU. He concluded his teaching career in 2000.
In 2004, Jack adopted Jim Brown as his son, who changed his name to James Dylan Held. He is survived by son Jim and his wife Bonnie J. Brown. Jack’s parents and beloved older sister, June Fleming, preceded him in death.
Son Jim calls his dad the best, most inspiring teacher he ever had, mentoring him for 52 years..
After suffering a debilitating fall, Jack became a permanent resident of Sundale Nursing and Rehabilitation since 2008.
Cremation services will be handled by Hastings Funeral Home.
To make memorial gifts, please donate to Osher Lifelong Learners at WVU, 5000 Green Bag Rd, Unit C17, Morgantown, WV 26501.