US Navy


John Neely Held

June 19, 1938 ~ July 16, 2018 (age 80)

John Neely Held, 80, of Bicknell, passed away on Monday, July 16, 2018 in his home with his loving family surrounding him. 

He was born June 19, 1938, in Bicknell, Indiana, and grew up in Freelandville. He married Vickie Wagner, also of Freelandville on September 5th, 1965 at Bethel Church. They had two children. John obtained a B.S. in Special Education at Indiana State University and a Master’s Degree from Webster College in St. Louis. He joined the U.S. Navy, completed flight training in Pensacola and later served as a Naval Officer on the U.S.S. Salvager. He was a Commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve for 18 years. A patriot, John served our country’s Department of Defense, as an agent for the N.C.I.S., and as Regional Director for the Northeast Region in Philadelphia. There, he protected our national security against espionage for over 20 years, retiring in 1992 after dutiful service. 

John also served our local community for four years as Trustee of Widner Township, as did his father, and was an officer of the Freelandville Memorial Cemetery. He was a member of the Elks Club, the Freelandville Improvement Club, the French Club, the Bicknell Country Club, the Country Oaks Golf Club, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service Association and the American Legion. He enjoyed cars, as well as golfing, fishing, music, sailing, reading, and visiting with friends and family. 

He was preceded by his parents, Daisy Ruth (Coffman) and John F. Held, and his siblings, George and Ned Held and Mary Joyce Buescher. He is survived by his devoted wife Vickie, after 52 years of marriage, their two children, Amy and Nathan, his son-in-law Carl, daughter-in-law Valentina, and four grandchildren, Giulia, Nicolas, Katherine and Chiara. 

Visitation will be on Thursday, July 19 from 4pm to 7pm at Frederick & Son McClure Utt Funeral Home in Bicknell, with a service at 7pm. Internment will be on Saturday, July 21 at 10am at Freelandville Cemetery with the All Weather Firing Squad providing military honors. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that gifts in his memory be sent to: Freelandville Methodist Church, Freelandville Memorial Cemetery or First Methodist Houston, which provides affordable housing to patients and families receiving cancer treatment at MD Anderson. Online condolences may be made at

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