Jack Arliss French

April 16, 1936April 18, 2023
Obituary of Jack Arliss French


Murphy Funeral Homes

Jack A. French (1936- 2023) (87) died on April 18, 2023 in Fairfax, VA of Lymphoma. He was born on April 16, 1936 to Arliss French and Frances Sloan in Escanaba, Michigan but raised in Wisconsin. He graduated from Rhinelander High School in 1954 where his debate team won the state championship. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1958 with a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education. There he was awarded first place in the Hagenah Debate Championship and he also won the Big Ten Oratory Championship held at the University of Michigan. He married his college sweetheart, Catherine “Cathy” Elizabeth Plautz of Beloit, Wisconsin in August 1958. He was a U.S. Navy Officer from 1959 to 1962 in the SOSUS program, including a year on San Salvador Island tracking Soviet submarines. Jack was accepted into the FBI as a Special Agent in 1963 and first assigned to the Fort Worth RA where he worked on the JFK assassination. He was transferred to St. Louis and worked on the Security Squad where he was promoted to Supervisor. Jack was transferred to FBIHQ in 1977 where he became Chief of the Research Unit in the Public Affairs Division. He was the Bureau liaison with DOJ in the Crime Resistance Program and made personal appearances with their “McGruff, the Crime Fighting Dog.” He also represented the FBI at the International Chiefs of Police anti-crime convocation in Versailles, France where over 30 countries were represented. Upon retiring from the FBI in 1986, he worked as a background investigator for MSM Corporation, conducting security clearances on personnel at the Pentagon and NRO. He retired from that job in 2004 to devote more time to writing and professional acting as a role-player in training sessions for legal firms and law schools. Jack was also an old-time radio historian and published countless articles and two books on the subject: Private Eyelashes: Radio’s Lady Detectives ( Bear Manor Media, 2004) and Radio Rides the Range (McFarland Publishers, 2014.) The former won the Agatha Award for Best Non-Fiction and was released as a Talking Book by the Library of Congress. An accomplished actor, he appeared in over 40 community theatre dramas and in 1992 earned his union membership in SAG and AFTRA. Since then, he appeared as an actor and an extra in over a dozen major films, as well as episodes in television’s Homicide, America’s Most Wanted, Unsolved Mysteries, Veep, and House of Cards. In recent years, he was a guest lecturer at museums, social clubs, and senior facilities, speaking on a host of topics, including the Lindbergh kidnapping, Civil War heroines, and Early Woman aviators. Jack was a member of the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI, Metro Washington Old-Time Radio Club, the Kings Park West Civic Association, and St. Mary’s Catholic Church of Fairfax Station, VA. During the Second Battle of Manassas, that historic church was a Union Army field hospital and the wounded were tended by Clara Barton. Jack was both a docent and usher in the parish. He is survived by his loving wife, Cathy of 65 years, his six children; Bradford, Marquita, Neil, Phillip, Cecilia, and Matthew; nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren. A visitation for Jack will be held Tuesday, April 25, 2023 from 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM at Murphy Funeral Homes, 1102 West Broad Street, Falls Church, VA 22046. A funeral service will occur Tuesday, April 25, 2023 from 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM, 1102 West Broad Street, Falls Church, VA 22046. A private graveside service to follow. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the French family.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2023


Tuesday, April 25, 2023

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