Former IHEU Vice-President, Jack Jeffery, died peacefully on 19 June 2017, aged 87.
Jack Jeffery was a committed humanist and a long-time member of his local humanist group, North East Humanists (NEH) in the UK. During his time at the IHEU, among other things, he served as representative to the UN Human Rights Council, and was instrumental in successfully campaigning against resolutions condemning the ‘defamation of religion’.
President of the IHEU, Andrew Copson, said:
“Jack was passionate about humanism, as evidenced by his breadth of involvement, from local to international level. He helped build community locally, he served with the IHEU championing humanist thinking as our representative at the UN. And his involvement in the Uganda Humanist schools in his final decade shows that he always remained concerned for the future of humanity.”
The obituary from North East Humanists follows below.
He was a humanitarian and a thinker and was committed to changing life for the better – professionally in the water industry, where he was a leading figure in the fields of public health and sustainability. He was also Chairman of Convocation at Newcastle University, where he was an inspiration to many.
Jack was strongly committed to the international, national and local humanist movements. Having been introduced to the National Secular Society by his grandfather in his youth, Jack himself later joined. When he returned to the North East, he became a member of the North East Humanists as well as the National body – the British Humanist Association, BHA (now re-named Humanists UK). In 2001, Jack was elected to the Executive Committee of the BHA and subsequently became its Vice-Chair.
After three years’ tenure at the BHA, he a became a Vice-President of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, IHEU. Jack then took on special responsibilities to help the development of humanist organisations in Africa. In 2009 he chaired a conference in Kampala, Uganda, to promote humanist projects in other African countries based on the enthusiastic growth of humanist initiatives in Uganda over the preceding five years, including the development of humanist schools. Subsequently, Jack accepted the role of representing the IHEU at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Jack touched the lives of so many people, and he will be sorely missed.
A family funeral has been held and this is to be followed in due course by a memorial celebration of Jack’s life, details of which will be provided later.