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Jeannette man was public face of Woody's Sportsmen's Inn

Stephen Huba
| Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018, 11:00 p.m.
William J. Held Sr. of Jeannette died Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018, at home after a three-year struggle with cancer. He was 85.
William J. Held Sr. of Jeannette died Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018, at home after a three-year struggle with cancer. He was 85.

From busing tables for his son to helping his grandson go to Kenya, William J. Held Sr. liked to keep the focus of his life on others.

“He was there whenever I needed him,” said his son, William “Woody” Held Jr.

The younger Held was proprietor of Woody's Sportsmen's Inn in Jeannette from 1986 to 2001, but his father was the face of the restaurant to the public.

“He was a regular there. He worked his shift (at the Elliott Co.) and then would come to the restaurant, pouring coffee for people and running checks to the bar,” Held Jr. said. “A lot of people thought he was Woody.”

William J. Held Sr. of Jeannette died Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018, at home after a three-year struggle with cancer. He was 85.

Born in Jeannette on Aug. 10, 1932, he was the son of the late Edward and Viola (Wilkens) Held. He graduated from Jeannette High School in 1951.

That same year, he joined the Elliott Co. He worked there for 44 years, first in the plant as a welder and later in the storeroom.

Even before his retirement in 1995, he helped out at his son's restaurant. Customers especially knew him from the Tuesday night pizza buffet and Sunday breakfast buffet, Held said.

“He was right out there scooping up the pizza because everybody would buy it by the slice. He would walk around to the tables to greet everyone,” said his daughter, Dayna Regina. “He got to know these people pretty well.”

While at Elliott, Mr. Held saved up his four weeks of vacation time and took the family across the country in a Coachman trailer, his daughter said.

“They took us to California and back,” she said, noting that they stopped to visit relatives and to see Yellowstone National Park, Mt. Rushmore and other sites.

Mr. Held also was devoted to his grandchildren, Regina said.

He helped his grandson finance a trip to Kenya with the Kenya Relief organization by making and selling homemade chocolates, she said.

“It was quite an expense. He sat at the table for weeks to make tons of this candy so we could sell it to help pay for his trip,” Regina said.

Mr. Held was preceded in death by his wife of 45 years, Doris (Lafevre) Held.

He is survived by his wife of 18 years, Judi (Reynolds-Mash) Held; a son, William “Woody” Held Jr.; a daughter, Dayna Regina and her husband, Larry; three stepchildren; grandchildren and stepgrandchildren; and great-grandchildren.

Friends may call from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8:30 p.m. Friday at the John V. Graziano Funeral Home, 228 N. Second St., Jeannette. A funeral service will be held at 11:30 a.m. Saturday in the funeral home chapel. Interment will follow in the Jeannette Memorial Park, Penn Township.

Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-1280, shuba@tribweb.com or via Twitter @shuba_trib.

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