John “Jack” Wesley Glass, Jr. Passes
A pioneer of masonry training
By Lynn Nash
Jack Glass, known to most everyone in the masonry industry as one of the people most responsible for the high-quality, award-winning masonry programs we have in North Carolina high schools, passed away July 10th in Greensboro. Mr. Glass was Manager of Masonry Training with the North Carolina Brick Association (now BIA-SE) for years when the association was in Greensboro, and later continued his training efforts working for Boren Brick Company. Along with Jimmy Harrell, the McGee brothers, Paul LaVene, Butch Hardy, Marion Cochran and others, Mr. Glass helped to develop the nationally recognized “Final-Four of Masonry” in the Carolinas for VICA (SkillsUSA) high school students.
Jack was born May 26, 1924 in Sanford, NC, the son of John Wesley Glass, Sr. and Estelle Wicker Glass. He attended Duke University and NC State College, and was a Veteran of WW II serving in the US Navy. He was a longtime member and Sunday School teacher at Gate City Baptist Church.
BIA-SE¹s Pete Cieslak says, “If there is a legacy to the work Jack Glass performed during his thirty- plus years working within the masonry industry, it is his passion for the masonry training portion, particularly the vocational schools. Jack was a vociferous advocate for the then VICA programs, to the members of the brick industry. He regularly and strenuously advocated for funding to those programs from the various boards of directors of the North Carolina manufacturers. It was his vision to create the Masonry Final Four Contest that included all the regional contests and the State Championship in one location over the period of a few days. This vision eventually came to fruition in 1991 with the first Final Four of Masonry in Asheville. Some of the greatest supporters of today's masonry championship contests in North Carolina participated in those early contest.”
MCAA Masonry Hall of Famer Sam McGee adds, “I remember him as the masonry training guru. We first met him when he showed up at one of our training sessions here at our office on a rainy day. He recruited and placed masonry instructors in every high school that had an opening. He held annual meetings of all instructors from around the state, usually in central locations in Greensboro. Jack recruited me along with other masonry contractors to make presentations at these meetings. He did a great job of keeping the interest and enthusiasm high. We would explain to the instructors what contractors wanted and expected from their students. Jack would often have the current national champion give a demonstration at these meetings. He always liked to have case histories of former students who were successful and were making big money. Everybody enjoyed the meetings, and came away better prepared to encourage young students to make a career in masonry.”
Doug Drye, retired Mount Pleasant High School coach/instructor of a record number of national masonry champions, calls Mr. Glass, “…a great man that literally changed not only the quality of masonry construction, but the lives of all who met him. I actually met Jack, “Mr. Glass,” as a senior in high school in 1968. He came to Mt. Pleasant High School my senior year to visit our masonry class. He left me with the desire to pursue masonry as a career. When I began teaching masonry in 1987, he was a great supporter and encourager for me. He certainly is the main reason why North Carolina VICA/Skills, and in particular myself, was/is so successful.”
Retired Carolinas Concrete Masonry Association President Paul LaVene remembers, “Jack was always upbeat and such a strong advocate of the masonry industry and especially dedicated to the many students learning the craft of becoming a mason.”
Jack was married to Mary Jo Taylor Glass who preceded him in death. Surviving are three daughters, Linda P. Null of Kernersville, Sandra G. Carter and husband Al of Winston-Salem, Laura G. Brautigam and husband Jack of Wilmington; one son, Randy T. Glass of Greensboro; one sister, Ann G. Belladonna of Gainesville, GA; one brother, Fred T. Glass of Sanford; four grandchildren, Allison, Samantha, Joshua, Wesley and four great grandchildren, Brent, Tristen, Devin and Jasmine.
The family suggests memorials be made in Jack's memory to Gate City Baptist Church, 5250 Hilltop Rd., Jamestown, NC 27282 or to Hospice of the Piedmont, 1801 Westchester Dr., High Point, NC 27262.
John "Jack" Wesley Glass, Jr., was ninety-years old and lived in Greensboro.
About the Author
Lynn Nash is the Executive Vice President for the North Carolina Masonry Contractors Association.