Obituary: David Held

Great-grandfather, longtime UCC minister and Claremont resident

Reverend David M. Held died peacefully in his home at Pilgrim Place in Claremont on May 10. He was 97 years old.

Mr. Held lived in Claremont for 44 years. In his capacity as a minister he served in United Church of Christ churches for more than 40 years.

He was born on February 10, 1921 in Des Plaines?, Illinois. After growing up in Des Plaines with his younger sister Miriam and older brother Wilbur, he went to Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin for his bachelor’s degree, Chicago Theological Seminary for his master of divinity, and Claremont School of Theology for his doctorate of ministry. He also received an honorary doctorate from Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon.

He married the love of his life, Virginia Marie Smith, in 1946. They raised three sons: Mark, Paul and Peter. Virginia’s life was focused on her family and on service as an active minister’s wife. She died in 2001 after suffering with Alzheimer’s disease. Her husband never stopped thinking of her, his family shared.

Mr. Held served in five United Church of Christ congregations: Oak Lawn, Illinois and Redwood City, Pasadena, San Mateo and Claremont, all in California.

He was a progressive Christian minister who took an active stance on social justice issues. The churches he led were open to all people. He was concerned about strife throughout the world, causing senseless death, world hunger and overflowing refugee camps. He also worried about global warming and the destruction of our environment.

Mr. Held was a friendly, gentle man with a cordial greeting and positive outlook. He believed in hard work, honesty and fairness, and always strived to do the right thing. He would become incensed when he believed someone was being victimized by injustice. 

His wife, Virginia, and brother, Wilbur Held?, preceded him in death.

He is survived by his sister, Miriam Hamilton; his sons, Mark Held and his partner Richard David; Paul Held, his wife Kay and granddaughter Christina; and Peter Held, his wife Gail; grandson Stephen Held and his wife Laura; granddaughter Kim Rey and her husband Javier; and great-grandson, Jack.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 30 at Claremont United Church of Christ, 233 W. Harrison Ave. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be sent to the David Held Memorial Fund at Claremont United Church of Christ, 233 W. Harrison Ave., Claremont, CA 91711.


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