Remembering Jack Hood

Interlochen Center for the Arts is saddened to announce that faculty legend Jack Hood has passed away at the age of 90.

Jack was Interlochen Arts Academy’s Department Chair for the Math/Science Program and Instructor of Ecology from 1963-1973. He was a member of the Camp Faculty from 1967-1972; Director of the Arts Academy from 1973-1976; Assistant to the President for Special Projects from 1977-1980; Alumni Staff in 1996; and Camp Staff from 2001-2004.

Jack's three sons, Mark, Brett and Bruce, are all Interlochen alumni, as are his wife, Irene Brown, and step-daughters Marifran and Kathryn Brown. Jack's late wife, Mary Lou Hood, also worked at Interlochen.

Jack was a beloved member of the Interlochen family, and was honored this year with a scholarship endowment in his name provided through the generosity of many grateful alumni. Former students and colleagues remembered Jack in a story about the new scholarship in the February Crescendo online magazine.

Interlochen Academy alumnus Peter Bankoff called Jack “a fatherly, beloved figure on campus. He was the type of father figure that some of us very young kids needed on our first separation from our families.”

Alumnus Michael Leib expressed similar feelings for Jack and Mary Lou. “They were parents, with our parents gone,” Leib said. “They were incredibly supportive, understanding, positive role models.”

In the Academy’s first year, Leib was one of a handful of students who were assigned to the Hoods as advisees, spending weekends with the family and gathering to talk and share meals in their home.

The experience, Leib said, “humanized what we were doing. In a fine arts school, where everyone there is so highly motivated and competitive, we needed that warm, fuzzy human touch.”

Byron Hanson (IAC 1958, 1959; IAC St 1960-65; IAA Fac 1965-2009; ICA St 2009-15), a longtime colleague of Mr. Hood’s, related an experience for the Crescendo story that that demonstrated Jack’s passion for teaching about nature.

“Late on a moonless night he took a busload of students and a few adults to a tract of natural woods where he led us along a trail, dropping us off one at a time perhaps every 50 yards or so. He called it a ‘swamp seminar,’” Hanson said. The students and adults stood alone and experienced the silence and sounds of the forest around them for 25 minutes. “It was a reality check that most of us will treasure for the rest of our lives.”  

His scholarship’s first recipient, Oonagh Davis, a 2015 Academy visual arts graduate, already is doing the award and its namesake proud. In May, Davis was selected as a Presidential Scholar in the Arts recipient.

“The soul of Interlochen is defined by the character of its faculty and the legacy they leave,” said Interlochen President Jeffrey S. Kimpton. “Jack will be deeply missed by us all.”

After his retirement, Jack lived in the Traverse City area with his wife, Irene.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, August 1, at Central United Methodist Church in Traverse City, Mich.  Memorials may be made in honor of Jack to the Interlochen Public Radio Endowment or the Jack Hood Endowed Academy Scholarship by mailing:

Interlochen Center for the Arts
Attn: Kate Murdock Olson, Stewardship Coordinator
P.O. Box 199
Interlochen, MI 49643