John R. Hershey Jr.

JULY 9, 1925-JUNE 27, 2012

June 28, 2012
  • John R. Hershey Jr.
Submitted photo

John R. "Jack" Hershey Jr., who had an active role in the area's business, civic and philanthropic life, died Wednesday, June 27, 2012, at Meritus Medical Center, surrounded by members of his family.

Born July 9, 1925, Jack was the son of J. Raymond Hershey Sr., and Sally Jeanette Hershey.

Jack attended Lehigh University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and graduated in three years. Jack served in the U.S. Air Force in Italy in World War II, and later became a lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. Jack was employed by Siegal, Berg and Co., CPA, in Allentown, Pa., while matriculating at Lehigh.

Upon graduation, he accepted an offer from E.I. DuPont de Nemours, and he and wife Anna resided in Wilmington, Del., for two years. He entered the investment industry in 1951 with Cohu and Co. In 1955, he joined Walston & Co., and, in 1960, he joined Winslow, Cohu & Stetson as a vice president. In 1969, he affiliated with Ferris & Co., as a senior vice president, regional officer, and later became a member of the board of directors. Ferris later acquired the prominent Baltimore-based firm of Baker, Watts.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Anna Leiter Hershey; three daughters, Karen Anne Spessard of Hagerstown, Lynne Hershey Rieden of Herndon, Va., Cheryl Leiter Hershey and husband, Wiley S. Rutledge, of Point of Rocks, Md.; and one son; John R. Hershey III of Hagerstown, Md. He is also survived by two grandsons, Gerry Wayne Spessard and John Holden Hershey; and four granddaughters, Julie Spessard Ebersole and husband, Daniel P. Ebersole, Laura Hershey Spessard, Jennifer Lynne Rieden and London Nicole Hershey.

He was predeceased by one brother, Richard K. Hershey.

Jack was a member of the Tower Society at Lehigh, and a member of Phi Delta Theta national fraternity.

He initiated efforts that resulted in legislation authorizing a left turn on a red light in Maryland, and was standing behind the governor when he signed the bill into law.

He was elected for a three-year term on the executive committee of the Securities Industry Association, Mid-Atlantic District, at their annual meeting at the Homestead in Hot Springs, Va. The SIA is a major trade organization representing more than 550 brokerage and investment banking firms in North America. The Mid-Atlantic District covers North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

Mr. Hershey participated with the Rotary Exchange Fellowship program, during which time his son, John, enjoyed a guest from France.

Jack R. Hershey Jr. was The Herald-Mail Person of the Year in 2005.

Mr. Hershey was active in bank acquisitions. He recommended more than 50 banks that were eventually taken over by larger banks.

RESEARCH, a national financial industry publication located in San Francisco, Calif., commented in an April 1997 issue on Mr. Hershey's industry knowledge: "Jack is the bank stock guy. Jack has sniffed out 28 bank takeovers."

Hershey has been quoted in The Baltimore Sun, Washington Post and Maryland Business Record, as well as The Herald-Mail and the Frederick News Post. In an article from the Wall Street Transcript, a national publication, Mr. Hershey participated in a several-page discussion regarding many banks and future investment opportunities.

A national financial industry publication titled Registered Representative published a lengthy article about Mr. Hershey and banks.

He was the chairman of the shareholders advisory committee of the Bank of Baltimore.

In cooperation with the school system, he stimulated student interest in "The Stock Market Game" through a simulated economic game.

In 1951, when Mr. Hershey became a broker, the Dow Jones industrial average was 269. It now stands at 12,515.

He and his wife were co-chair of a flamboyant costume ball attracting more than 5,000 people in the Valley Mall. An event which included three nationally known bands as Washington County celebrated its 200th anniversary (bi-centennial).

Mr. Hershey played an integral role in the chamber of commerce, particularly in 1969 when he was president, as he encouraged the chamber to make some changes. "Let's do away with separate city and county government. Let's streamline our administrative bodies," he said.

He was chairman of the board of JRH Inc., a family investment firm, which announced the purchase of Holshu Welch Insurance Agency in Cumberland, Md.

John and Anna relished having visited every continent in the world, and always very much enjoyed traveling.

Mr. Hershey served on the board of directors of Victor Products Corp.

Mr. Hershey was the "Hagerstown Town & Country Almanac" managing partner for 22 years.

He served on the church council at Trinity Lutheran Church, as well as numerous committees over a lifetime. He was president and a member of the board of directors of the YMCA for 12 years. He served as a member of the board of trustees for the YMCA for 30 years. He was instrumental in raising funds to build the new YMCA. He recently was honored by being named trustee emeritus.

Mr. Hershey was a past president and member of the board of directors of the Hagerstown Rotary Club. Jack was a 50-year member of the club, and has four Paul Harris Fellows awards. In 1979 he invited Bud Wilkinson, Coach of the Year 1949, to the Rotary regional conference.

Mr. Hershey was a past president, treasurer and member of the board of governors of Fountain Head Country Club.

Mr. Hershey served on the board of directors of Dutchie, Inc.

Mr. Hershey was a past president, treasurer and member of the board for San Mar Children's Home. He served 17 years and was honored as a director emeritus, one of only two persons so honored in the history of San Mar.

Mr. Hershey was a past president and current member of the board for Rose Hill Cemetery for 51 years. He had the privilege of chauffeuring President Dwight Eisenhower, Gov. J. Millard Tawes and Sen. Charles Mathias in his 1962 black Cadillac convertible, during the 100-year Civil War celebration.

Mr. Hershey was a past treasurer and member of the executive committee for the Mason-Dixon Council of the Boy Scouts. He was honored by being included in the Borders of Men Historical Gallery at Sinoquipe. Mr. Hershey was a past member of the executive committee for the United Way, formerly United Fund, of Washington County and the Community Chest.

Mr. Hershey was a past trustee of the Community Foundation of Washington County, Md. He also was a past trustee of the Lutheran Seminary in Gettysburg, Pa.

He was a member of American Legion Post 42 and the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks Lodge 378, both of Hagerstown.

He was a member of the Assembly Club. He was one of the original nine of the local Nine and Ninety Social Organization.

Most recently, he was a member of the foundation committee, Meritus Health Service, an affiliate of Meritus Medical Center.

He was inducted in 1993 into "Maryland Senior Citizens Hall of Fame".

In 1979 he invited Bud Wilkinson, Coach of the Year 1949 to the Rotary Regional Conference.

Representing Lehigh University, he took part in the processional of the inauguration of Shirley Peterson, Hood College's seventh president.

Mr. Hershey played basketball for Hagerstown High School and in 1943 earned the distinction of the Leading Scorer.

As a member of the Rotary Club, Mr. Hershey invited such distinguished speakers as Sen. Mathias, Sen. Beall, Congressman Byron, Gov. Lee, Gov. Hughes and Attorney General Sachs, as well as the Minister of Commerce, Embassy of India, Ravindra Jeratm.

On March 25, 2011, Jack and Anna Hershey were honored for their service and generosity to our community at a gala tribute held at Hagerstown Community College's Athletic, Recreation and Community Center. The event was extraordinary in that a record attendance of 570 was established, along with income of $164,400 for the student aid program. The Hersheys were presented with a citation from Gov. Martin O'Malley "in recognition of their commitment and leadership on behalf of the Hagerstown community, in appreciation of the contributions they have made to numerous organizations and charitable causes, giving of their time and talent to make a positive difference in the lives of others, and the people of Maryland join in expressing our admiration and great respect as you are honored for your outstanding service to our state."

Jack and his wife made significant gifts, often anonymously, to many local charities, including the YMCA, Washington County Hospital Building Fund, and Girls, Inc., and they established the Jack and Anna Hershey Foundation.

Service will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church, 15 Randolph Ave., Hagerstown, MD 21740, at 11 a.m. on Monday, July 2.

Jack donated his body to the Anatomy Board of Maryland for the benefit of medical education and research at Maryland hospitals and/or universities. Burial in Rose Hill Cemetery will be at the convenience of the family.

The family will receive friends on Sunday, July 1, at Minnich Funeral Home, 415 E. Wilson Blvd., Hagerstown, MD 21740, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the charity of your choice, or to the Jack and Anna Hershey Foundation, 113 S. Potomac St., Hagerstown, MD 21740.

In the event you choose the foundation, you may direct your contribution to the local charity of your choice. The foundation will equal the amount of your gift not exceeding $5,000 for the next three years in your name. Matching contributions must be made within 30 days and are subject to certain restrictions, limitations and final approval by trustees.

Online condolences are accepted at

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