(209) 634-5829
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Jack W. Heald September 3, 1925 - September 17, 2020

September 3, 1925 – August 17, 2020

Jack Heald was born September 3, 1925 in Phoenix, Arizona.  In 1941, his family relocated to Southern Oregon’s Illinois Valley on a 40 acre homestead, which at the time had no running water or electricity.  He graduated from Kirby High School in 1943.  Upon graduation he went to work at a steam powered saw mill in Cave Junction, Oregon, then was drafted into the army and shipped to Ft Lewis, Washington. Returning to civilian life, he used his GI Bill to attend radio announcing and engineering school in Hollywood, CA.  He worked a number of years in radio as a DJ and newscaster.  His radio profession led him to KYUM in Yuma, AZ in 1949 where he met his future wife, Mary Ann Higuera.  They were married in 1950 and moved back to southern Oregon where Jack went back to work at the saw mill and built his own house.

In the late 1950’s he packed up his family and moved to the California Central Valley where he worked in radio and earned an AA degree from Modesto Junior College. The next year Stanislaus State was founded in Turlock, CA with classes held at the local Stanislaus County Fair Grounds where Jack was number 13 to register.  While taking classes, an annual Turkey Show was held at the Fair Grounds and the sponsors asked around for a replacement Turkey Judge who had gone missing that day.  A fellow student and also fellow radio announcer volunteered.  He was Cedric Benjamin (later principle at Manteca Jr High).  Cedric accidentally picked the winning turkey and the two DJ’s (Jack and Cedric) began joking on their radio programs about the “turkey college” they attended and the term evolved into Turkey Tech, a not so popular name for CSU Stanislaus for many years.

Upon graduation with a BA and teachers credential, Jack took a job at Wakefield Jr High in Turlock, CA as an English and science teacher and taught for two years when an opening came up at Turlock High School.

The two following summers, Jack enrolled at University of the Pacific in Stockton and earned a Master’s Degree commuting in his 1959 VW Beetle.

At Turlock High, Jack taught English Public Speaking (speech and debate) to a group of highly talented students who immediately began winning medals and trophies including a few placing high at the state and national level.  He developed a strong speech program and recruited several local Turlock residents to judge his annual Turlock High speech tournament from the late 60’s through the mid 70’s.  In later years, he also taught speech at Modesto JC and Merced JC and was appointed assistant to the Head of Speech Department at CSUS.   All during this time Jack worked part-time first at KTUR then KCEY radio stations in Turlock as both a newscaster and disc jockey.

During his years as a teacher, most summers he would pack up family the day after school ended and head to Oregon to the spend the summer in the house he built.

Jack retired in 1981, returning to his property in Southern Oregon and enjoyed his new hobbies of collecting antique tractors and Ford Mustangs. In 1995 Jack started the international Fordson Tractor club and wrote a book on the history the Fordson Tractors manufactured from 1918-1928.  He was a charter member and PA announcer for 27 years at a Grants Pass, OR antique tractor show.

Jack also published two Heald family genealogy books, the last published in in 2014 entitled “The California Gold Rush Healds” decedents of the founders Healdsburg, CA.

He moved back to Turlock in the fall of 2015 at the age of 90 and was well cared for by his wife and daughter, and for the last year, the great caregivers at St. Thomas Retirement Center.

Jack was preceded in death by his parents Judson and Margret Heald, and his brother Monte.

He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Mary Ann Heald; children Blaine Heald (Denise), Mark Heald (Cyndi), and Gina Heald; and three granddaughters, Amy Lupcho (Drew), Natalie Heald, and Rachel Feng (Alan).

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Thomas Retirement Center, 2937 N Berkeley Ave, Turlock, CA 95382.

A private graveside service will be held in Cave Junction, Oregon.

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  1. Linda Heald says

    I never laid eyes on Jack. He lived on the west coast and I live on the east coast. We spoke on the phone late in his years until he could no longer hear my voice. We shared our love of Heald history. I bought his books. I listened to his stories. I read his letters at the Concord Free Public Library, where many boxes of his research are stored. I have found in life it is a rare treat when you can speak to anyone about their passion. Every Heald owes this man a debt for the many trips he and his family crossed the country collecting Heald genealogy – long before there was Ancestry or the Internet or easy access to vital records. I have an outstanding promise to Jack to find out if Samuel Heald and John Heald, both the subjects of his books, were related. Such an honor to know you. You are missed. Today would have been your 95th birthday. Love, Linda

  2. Linda says

    Uncle Jack…a name we affectionately called him and he tolerated, maybe even liked? Mr. Heald was my science teacher in jr. high and speech instructor in high school. We had lots of years together and I so appreciated him through all of them. He was inspiring when we were inspired and would just give us that stare and little smile when we were not up to par, but he was perhaps entertained. Anyway, many memories and thanks to our Uncle Jack and my sympathies to the family for your loss.

  3. Jerri Lynn Heald Matoza says

    When Jack was beginning his research on Heald family genealogy,
    he spent many hours sitting with my father, Hiel Heald at our ranch in Hughson.
    I am sorry to hear of his passing, my thoughts and prayers to the family.

  4. Katie Gavin says

    Wayne and I so enjoyed visiting cousin Jack in Cave Junction. Those summer we’re very special to us. Jack and I had so much fun sharing family genealogy.
    Our deepest sympathy and prayers go out to his family. Jack was so special to all of us. My he rest in peace in the grace of God.

  5. Joyce Teekell says

    Mr. Heald became the speech teacher my sophomore year in high school, September,1964.
    I had already participated in Forensics my freshman year and really enjoyed speech tournaments and the opportunity to travel to different high schools in the area.

    Mr. Heald noted my interest and abilities and motivated me by finding dramatic interpretations that would peak my interest. He found a script for Madam Butterfy, modified it and I was able to take it all the way to Nationals in Omaha, Nebraska, where I placed 5th.

    I have fond memories of Mr. Heald and the Heald family. May you all find comfort in the many students he touched and his dedication to his calling.

    Joyce Doo Teekell

  6. Richard Sopp says

    I was one of Jack’s speech students and he influenced me more than any other high school teacher. I remember working with him at night to prepare for the State Tournament in extemporaneous speaking with him just firing topics at me that I had to immediately start speaking about. He gave freely of his time and wanted his students to excel. I learned “Intro, Thesis, Body, Close” from Jack in English PS my freshman year, a pattern I used through law school and I still use today. No one influenced my career more than him. God speed Mr. Heald.

  7. Dennis Buchanan says

    Mark may you and your family feel at peace of the passing of your father.He had a great long life well lived.

  8. Jeffery Wise says

    I will miss you uncle Jack.

  9. Margaret Ward Nelson says

    My mother, Lenore Peart Ward, was Jack’s mother’s sister. We saw them often and loved them all. The years have made a distance as everyone gets so busy. Blaine was named after my Dad as Mary Ann liked my dad so well.
    RIP cousin Jack. We all will be with you someday. Until then, know we think of you often.

  10. Luisa Barragan says

    My mother and I send our sincere condolences to the Heald Family. We have known them for many many years and have timeless memories that will last a lifetime.
    RIP Mr. Heald “Jack”
    Luisa and Esperanza “Hope” Barragan

  11. Gale McCoy says

    My condolences to all the Heald family. Mary Ann hired me when I was 15 years of age to house keep their home & help me out w/ alittle extra siupport. (As we were like shirt tail relatives later on.) What a lovely family they are❤️ God Bless you!

  12. Carson Holmes says

    My condolences. Jack is my Mom’s first cousin. Sounds like I have some second cousins I never knew existed until now. Please reach out to me if you would like.

    All the best,
    Carson Holmes

  13. Carson Holmes says

    My condolences. Jack is my Mom’s first cousin. Sounds like I have some second cousins I never knew existed until now. Please reach out to me if you would like.

    All the best,
    Carson Holmes

  14. Eric C. Shaw says

    I suspect all of us have list of the few teachers or mentors who had a special impact on the direction of our lives. Jack Heald would be near or at the top of my short list. Perhaps I would have ended up in a similar place had I not met Jack, but I doubt it.

    I actually first met Jack””it is sort of hard not to write Mr. Heald, but after college he insisted I call him Jack””as my friend Mark’s Dad. The Healds lived on the next street over from us, so in those days of free ranging, unfettered play, they were just within our approved bicycle travel range. Later Mark’s Mother Mary Ann Heald became our first Cub Scouts Den Mother, so I visited with the Healds a bit. And I recall from a young age Jack telling me that I should become speech student (I think he noted I liked to argue).

    In high school, I loved speech class, and especially joining the THS speech team. I spent many hours with Jack traveling to and from tournaments, and even more getting prepared. Despite my lack of early success at debate””I believe I had a 2″“27 record my freshman year””Jack urged me to stick with it. He devoted hours to coaching speech and helping students learn to compete.

    He made himself available almost every day after school, and usually once or twice a week at night for endless impromptu drills (probably the skill on which I most depend as a lawyer).

    From him and the hours of practice I learned to be comfortable on my feet and in front of audiences of all sizes; I learned the importance of speaking logically and clearly; I learned how to read audiences; he helped me eliminate bad habits (I rarely say uhh when speaking to a court or group, I still hear that damn alligator clicker when I do); he taught me the foundations of logic and argument; and, again, most importantly he taught that practice and persistence would pay off.

    He also greatly broadened our horizons. I trace my love of San Francisco partly to all the fun we had coming here once or twice a year for speech trips. (He would basically set us free a block from the Powell Street cable car turnaround at Market; probably not something a speech coach could do in 2020.) And I believe I was his fifth student to make it to the National Speech Tournament, which we attended together in June of 1974 in Dallas.

    As I moved into my senior year, Jack’s connections to UOP and UOP’s debate coach led pretty directly to my debate partner and I securing scholarships to debate for UOP for four years.

    After college and law school, my wife and I visited Jack twice at his beloved home in Oregon. He loved showing you around his place, and showing off his tractor collection and other odds and ends he had collected over the years.

    Thank you Mr. Heald. My condolences to Mary Ann, Blaine (who sold me my first guitar), and Mark (who may or may not have forgiven me for “stealing” his debate partner), and Gina.

  15. Gerald F. Ziegler says

    I was fortunate to have engaged Jack(OH*)in conversation a couple of times..
    Found him extremely interesting..
    Rest in peace…☮
    (*Original Healdy-mon)…..

  16. Terry Merlo says

    Thoughts and prayers for MaryAnn and family.
    Jack was a good man and will be missed.

    Terry (Mendenhall) Merlo

  17. Maureen Parks Jeffers says

    My sincere condolences to Mark and the Heald family.

  18. Mike Rosas says

    I was a student of Mr Heald for three years at THS. What I learned from him about public speaking had a life long influence on me. I feel privileged to have had him as an instructor. My heartfelt condolences to his family.

  19. Richard Lindsay says

    I had Mr. Heald for Freshman English/Speech class….the only year I could take speech…but I still remember, 50 years later, the speaking and debating skills he taught. In a long business career I was a frequent speaker in front of large audiences…his was the only instruction I ever received. Thanks Mr. Heald.

    Thoughts to his family. Rest in Peace.

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