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Remembering John R. 'Jack' Hershey Jr.

July 02, 2012

Writing on the career of John R. “Jack” Hershey Jr., in 2010, Herald-Mail reporter Alicia Notarianni might have said it best when she penned, “His is a resume of dizzying breadth.”

To that, we would add that Jack Hershey was a man of dizzying breadth — interested in everything, a supporter of all that is worthwhile in life, lover of a good time, an advocate for our town and a generous contributor to causes far too lengthy to name.

Hagerstown lost a good champion and a good friend last week with the passing of Hershey, 86, after a brief illness.

Known primarily as a stock broker, Hershey, it might be fitting to say, earned money the old-fashioned way. Indeed, as a teen, he earned 58 cents an hour at Rose Hill Cemetery, loading cement, placing rail ties, mowing and painting.

We are well aware of the impressionability of youth, and jockeying bags of cement got Hershey’s attention; he decided college might be a more suitable course of action.

He came away from Lehigh University with a degree and an observation: “The harder you work, the luckier you get.”

After serving a stint with DuPont as an accountant, Hershey found his true calling in the stock market, peddling securities door-to-door.

He loved to talk of the market — preach about it, really. The stock exchange was a place a young man could get ahead, and Hershey himself certainly did, getting in just before the market went on a glorious run during the middle half of the last century.

Stocks for Hershey were not just a job, they were a philosophy. You can serve your fellow man by artfully managing his accounts, and with the reward from doing so, you can serve your community.

From education to exercise, Hershey contributed generously to agencies that allow people in our community to better themselves. Indeed, he warned against sitting around on a couch, advice he took to heart, with plenty of travel, sports, arts and a general curiosity about life.

And his was a life well-lived. We will miss his joyous smile, and the engaging gaze radiating from behind the considerable acreage taken up by his trademark spectacles. We will miss his humor, his love of our county and his ability to make this world a better place just by being in it. It might be said he was Hagerstown’s Renaissance Man, whose joy in life and in us was dizzying in itself, and benefited us all.

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