L. James Held, 86, of Hermann, MO, passed away Friday, November 8, 2019 at Hermann Area District Hospital.
Jim was born in Pershing, Missouri on October 7, 1933, a son of the late Benjamin J. & Wilma Louise Lydia (Bohl) Held.
He was the husband of Betty (Meyer) Held. They were united in marriage on December 23, 1955, in Pershing, Missouri. Betty survives at the home.
Jim is also survived by their four children, Jon Held & wife Karen, of Hermann, Missouri; Patty Held, of Hermann; Thomas Held & wife Andrea, of Hermann; and Julie Brandfield & husband Steve, of New York City, New York; by a sister, Marilyn Homeister, of Tiffon, Ohio; by grandchildren, Nathan & Eric Held, Natalie Henson, Grant Uthlaut, Jordan Held, Madeline Sloan, Lincoln Held, and Jack & Lydia Brandfield, by step-grandchildren, Jessica Miofsky, Monica Uthlaut, Bonnie Zeiger, Connie Gacich, and Casey Barton, and by nine great- grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents, by two brothers, Robert & Don Held, and a grandson, James R. Held.
Jim proudly served his country in the United States Navy from 1955-1957. He was a member of St. Paul United Church of Christ, Hermann, and the International Fellowship of Christian Businessmen.
Jim and Betty owned Stone Hill Winery, which they re-opened in 1965. A farmer with no prior experience operating a winery, Jim moved his family onto the property with a vision to restore the winery back to its pre-Prohibition glory. By the time Jim retired in 2011, Stone Hill produced more than 260,000 gallons of wine annually, employed more than 100 Missouri residents and contributed more than $9 million to the state’s economy each year. Jim lobbied the State to change Prohibition-era laws, resurrected the Norton grape and developed a partnership with MU’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources to offer an academic program in viticulture and enology.
Jim’s contributions have been recognized throughout the past four decades. In 1982 President Ronald Reagan awarded Stone Hill Winery Missouri’s Small Business of the Year; in 1988 Jim and Betty received the first Hall of Fame Award from the Missouri Division of Tourism; in 1995 he and Betty were named Wine Growing Family of the Year at the Wineries Unlimited 20th anniversary and also the Blue Chip Enterprise Initiative Award for entrepreneurship in America; in 1997 the Department of Agriculture’s Missouri Grape and Wine Program gave Jim the Pioneer Award; and in 2014 the University of Missouri bestowed on Jim an Honorary Doctorate of Laws Degree for his contributions to the industry and his community.
Throughout his 54 years as a resident of Hermann, Jim has been a generous member of the community. Until his death he served on the board of Bay-Hermann-Berger Bank; he was a past president of the Hermann Area Chamber of Commerce, Junior Chamber of Commerce and Missouri Vintners Association,; was past chair of the Grape and Wine Advisory Board; served five years on the Missouri Tourism Commission; and was a 45-year member of the Hermann’s Lions Club. Jim’s generosity extended throughout the community, including St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, Hermann Area District Hospital and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Visitation will be held Thursday, November 14th from 3:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Toedtmann & Grosse Funeral Home, Hermann. Funeral services will be held Friday at 1:00 p.m. at St. Paul United Church of Christ, Hermann.
Burial will be at Hermann Cemetery with full military honors. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the St. Paul U.C.C. C/O Toedtmann & Grosse Funeral Home.
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