Jeffrey Joel Held
December 6, 1953 – May 21, 2020
Jeffrey Joel Held passed away at the age of 66 on the morning of Thursday, May 21 following a long and courageous battle with early onset Alzheimer's Disease. He was preceded in death by his parents Edith and Arnold Held.
Jeffrey was born in 1953 in Albany, NY. He moved about the country frequently with his father working for General Electric. Jeff spent his grade school years living in King of Prussia, PA and then his high school years in Shelbyville, IN. He was a graduate of the Shelbyville High School class of '72. He attended and graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1977 with a B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Jeff spent time working as a consultant for the U.S. Navy while living in California, and then moved to the Washington, D.C. area working for a computer networking consulting firm, Network Strategies Inc. It was here he met many of his life long friends. Jeff met his wife Mary Fairchild of 34 years during this time through mutual friends. Their courtship was a long distance relationship, but it wasn't until Mary moved to the area in 1984 that Jeff discovered marriage was imminent. They married on April 19, 1986 and became long time residents of the City of Fairfax, VA. Jeff also spent time working at Ernst & Young, rising to the position of Chief Technology Officer after 12 years. During this time, Jeff and Mary welcomed two children, Laura born in 1990 and Victor born in 1992. After many years of being a leader in the information technology world, Jeff retired as a Global Chief Information Officer for Watson Wyatt in 2008.
Jeff was a proud nerd who loved Apple products and the newest cutting edge technology. Friends and family called him a "walking encyclopedia" as it seemed he knew everything. In addition to his affinity for science, he also enjoyed sports, especially basketball and was an Ohio State Sports fan. His heroes included tech leader Steve Jobs and athlete Larry Bird. He had many hobbies, such as monitoring and predicting the weather, and loved teaching his children about his passions. Jeff was also a proud member of the Jewish community. He accomplished so much in his life, but what his friends and family remember most fondly about him was his genuinely kind heart. His proudest achievement and joy was his two children, and later on his granddaughter London who happened to be born on his and Mary's 29th wedding anniversary.
Jeff is survived by his wife of 34 years Mary Fairchild, his daughter Laura (Avery Minor) Held, son Victor Held, granddaughter London Minor, all of whom still preside in the Northern Virginia area.
Jeff will be laid to rest in King David Memorial Gardens on Tuesday during a private service. The family will have a celebration of life at a later date.
If you would like to donate to the Alzheimer's Association in honor of Jeffrey Held, please click the link below:
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Jeffrey Joel Held
May 25, 2020
Aileen, Risa, David, and I extend our condolences and prayers to your family. We are deeply saddened to hear of Jeff’s passing. We moved to Fairfax City in 1990 just before our daughter Risa was born and we met Mary, Jeff, and Laura in the neighborhood and later Victor as well. Those seem like such easy times now, and we were grateful for your open hospitality and welcoming open door. We were part of your extended family and friends and we have very pleasant memories of that time. I was working for a tech start-up at the time that never started, and I also looked forward to my conversations with Jeff about technology. He was always curious about what I was doing and of course he had a deep knowledge about management and seemingly all technologies. May Jeff’s memory be a blessing, our hearts go out to your whole family. Aileen, Risa, David, and Raymond Horn
May 24, 2020
Jeff hired me in 1992 into E&Y, my first real job. He was a capable and humble leader who guided newcomers like me into the consulting world. His knowledge of technology was as deep as anyone in the group and despite his title, always remained grounded. He would interact as easily with a junior consultant as he would with a senior member of the team. The nerf hoop in his office, with intra day matches, and his daily noontime flash of the letter “A” with his hands, the signal for gathering people for lunch at Anita’s were evidence of that. And he saw the force of Apple and what it would become before most others. He was a good man. To Mary, Laura, Victor and London, your husband, father and grandfather was liked, respected and admired by many. The pain of losing your beloved Jeff, after his long struggle, is deep. I wish you strength during this difficult time.
May 24, 2020
I am sad to hear that Jeff has finally left us. I worked for Jeff in Watson Wyatt, and my fondest memory is the day we spent in the fields of Gettysburg. Jeff had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the civil war and the battles at Gettysburg - it was like having our own personal tour guide!
Rest In Peace Jeff, and deepest condolences to his wife, children and grandchildren
Cydney Finkel Fox
May 23, 2020
My heart breaks. He was such a wonderful person and never deserved what happened to him. One memory is at my sister, Sondra's funeral. We were sitting next to each other at Ken's house and Laura called him. He excused himself because at that moment, she needed him. I remember thinking that fatherhood became him and wondering how we both had come to this point in our life. Another other memory was when Joel and I came to DC for a conference and all of you came over so we could have ice cream. We walked around the area, talked and laughed. And finally when you came to California and we first ate lunch at the California Pizza Kitchen and then went across the street to the Disney Ice Cream store for desert. And we laughed more and Victor and I took pictures of each other. Thank God his soul is free and he no longer is burdened with his illness. May all our memories be a blessing for all of us. Joel joins me in extending our condolences. Love Cydney
May 23, 2020
Jon and I extend our sympathy and prayers to the family. Jeff will be greatly missed. He was always so helpful and kind. He was truly an IT encyclopedia and never hesitated to take time from his busy day to help me when I needed his expertise. Our love to you all.
May 23, 2020
I am so sorry that Jeff has passed. Through Laura and Mary, I had been to a number events at which he, too, participated. He always had a beautiful smile and warm demeanor. He packed an enormous amount of academic related achievement into a relatively short time prior to the misfortune of early onset Alzheimer's. He was a great man and will be remembered as such. Clearly his family loved him.
Eileen Day Cytryn
May 23, 2020
Dear Mary, Laura and Victor, Though many years have passed since we've laid eyes on each other, I have always held a very special place in my heart for your whole family, especially Victor. I am ashamed I was not there to help you as Jeff was so ill. I had no idea. Please know that you are in our thoughts, prayers and wishes for moving forward peacefully, all the while knowing you were a stellar family for Jeff to behold and love. I firmly believe he's in Heaven, and you shall all see him again....but not yet. I send this with much love and admiration for you all!!! I am so sorry! XO Darren, Eileen, Blaine, Domi, Josie and Christina.
May 22, 2020
Jeff was an frequent honored speaker at the Summer Technology Program of the International Communications Association at the University of Colorado at Boulder held in June annually through the 90's. We met in collaboration at Boulder which led to him hiring me into Ernst & Young's Center for Technology Enablement of which he was a founding partner - and his influence was felt across the globe. I never failed to learn something from every interaction I had with Jeff - which was true for so many. Through the things he taught - Jeff's impact continues.
With sympathy to his family and loved ones,