Jay Stuart Herbert

Jay Stuart Herbert

  • Obituaries

Jay Stuart Herbert, 83, of Mansfield, passed away Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital. Born October 2, 1933 in Mansfield, He was the son of Joy A. Mary J. (Fate) Herbert.

Jay Stuart Herbert was a man who is not easily summarized in any standard epitaph.  That was, in fact, a sort of goal of his.

He had many different careers and he wore many different hats throughout his lifetime.  For someone who wanted to be in show business from the beginning however, all those roles in the end constitute a well-rounded portfolio.

He conformed to the usual dictates of society for about half his life, and then he had enough of that.

As a young man Jay wanted to be on the stage and he made a success of it from the start.  He was an early star of Children’s Theater, and the first Junior High student ever admitted to Senior High advanced dramatics.  As actor, comedian, and ventriloquist he excelled in Mansfield performances until he graduated in 1951.

As a stage manager, director and technician Jay Herbert did shows in Chicago and Pasadena; and in the US Army in 1955 he toured European bases on the road crew of The Caine Mutiny.  In the 1960s he developed and produced the Polly Wolly Puppets.

When Jay became a father he left the stage and put on a suit for a career in advertising.  He also worked at Westinghouse for a number of years; where he tried, and afterward steadfastly refused, all management positions.
In the last decades of the 20th century Jay went to work for himself in the carnival circuit as a concessionaire at fairs and festivals; he was well known and respected in the Mansfield AA community; and he was recognized as a master of fashioning leather coats and clothing.

Those symbolic masks of the theater that show alternately smiling and frowning faces, are aptly suitable for Jay’s legacy in Mansfield: he showed both to the community.

But people who knew only in his headstrong role could never imagine the fire of adventure in the man: that he once sailed a Chinese junk across Lake Erie; that he had hung out with Beat poets in Greenwich Village; that he was a warm and thoughtful philosopher, and an earnest seeker of spiritual truths.

As a young man Jay talked a bunch of his friends into leaving New York and setting off into the wilderness to make a fortune salvaging free timber from the bottoms of Canadian rivers.

He bought an old truck that served as their office, and he called the company, Scubananza!

That was the dreamer and passionate soul his friends will always remember and admire.

Jay is survived by his four daughters: Cathy Taffner and her spouse Ken Taffner, Jenny Cowing and her spouse Walter Cowing, Jennifer Rebecca Owens, and Erin Woods; and his son Dan Herbert and Dan’s partner Emily Hesselbein. He is also survived by his sister Azasha Joyanne Lindsey (Herbert) and seven grandchildren.

Calling hours will take place on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. with a short celebration starting at 6:00 p.m. at the Ontario Home of Wappner Funeral Directors, 100 S. Lexington-Springmill Road, Ontario.  All are welcome to attend.  In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Richland County Humane Society.

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