Lee Jay “Jack” Price , born in Vero Beach, Florida, on October 11, 1929 (a date he proudly shared with Eleanor Roosevelt) died in Lake City, Florida on July 15, 2020.He was predeceased by his parents, Robert Lee and Emma Rhodes Fugett Price, his sister Joyce Price Heufel Whitener, and his nephews Charles and Terry Whitener. Although Jack had no living family at the time of his death, he leaves behind a host of friends too numerous to list. He was raised in Jacksonville, Florida where he attended local schools prior to being drafted by the US Army during the Korean Conflict.
Following a chance meeting with Florida congressman Claude Pepper he took his first bite of the progressive apple that shaped his life going forward. Pepper, a legendary member of the US House of Representatives, offered Jack employment as one of his aides. Jack went to Washington DC and found his true calling: he dedicated his life to the outcasts and the downtrodden.
He then took a job with Southern Railways and traveled southwest Florida selling freight by day for the railroad and organizing quiet armies who would join him in his quest for social justice by night.
From Ft Lauderdale he moved to Atlanta, and later joined the staff of The National Conference of Christians and Jews(NCCJ.) First, as area representative in Tampa, he was later promoted to the organization’s headquarters in New York City.
He could cite the times and places of our government’s depredations in Latin America, matching evil deeds with evil doers. But he also took note of the brighter aspects of his times and identified with those took a stand for freedom.
With good humor he went about the somber business of condemning the unrepentant. “What’ he would ask “is an exact estimate?” Or a “compassionate conservative?” What was a “definite maybe”, or a genuine imitation?”
Jack persisted on his mission until the end. He revered the strength of the truly committed. Along the way he made life brighter for people from every walk of life.
He earned the nickname “Jack the Clipper” as he favored all of his friends (and they are many) as well as chance acquaintances with newspaper and magazine clippings he thought might be (or should be) of interest. He was once gifted a pair of electric scissors to help speed up the process.
A proud Democratic Socialist Jack embraced everyone he met, finding value in each and every one of us. He never married but said his family were the many friends he’d made over his long, and well-lived life.
Based on the recommendation of his long-time Tampa friend Nancy Sever’s having relocated to Gainesville, and the proximity to Jacksonville where his sister and nephews lived,Jack retired there. “Close, but not too close” he said. The ensuing years saw jack integrated into the fabric of Gainesville politics, the Jewish community, the Labor Council, the Democratic party, the Civic Media Center and everything progressive. He was embraced and welcomed by everyone lucky enough to meet him. “It was like coming home.”
Robert Frost once wrote “I chose the road less traveled by. And that has made all the difference.” And that’s our Jack.
Lee Jay “Jack” Price will be laid to rest at Prairie Creek Conservation Cemetery in a private burial. We will mourn our friend, and celebrate his life.
Honorary pall bearers are Dr. Roy Kaplan, Francisco Sanchez, Roger Williams, John Fullerton, Andrea Holbrook, Terry Hamilton Wollin, Lesley Friedsam Damisch , Rita Friedsam Shapiro and Jason Fultz.
For those who wish Jack has selected Doctors Without Borders, https://donate.doctorswithoutborders.org
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