Jack Dyville, age 77, a resident of Williston, N.D., passed away Wednesday, July 6, 2022, at Bethel Lutheran Nursing Home in Williston, N.D.
Jack Brady Stuteville was born June 6, 1945, in Oakland, Calif., the son of Brady and Jean (Shankle) Stuteville. His mother reportedly walked to the Peralto Hospital that morning and Jack was born midafternoon. His father, stationed in the Navy then, did not return stateside until after Jack’s first birthday. As a youngster, Jack’s mom often told him he was “fished out of Oakland Bay.” After his father’s discharge from the Navy, the family moved to their native home in Texas and settled in Fort Worth. Brady was a Materials Engineer for General Dynamics, a large airplane manufacturer, and Jean was a bookkeeper for Moning’s Department Store.
Jack was a latchkey kid. He would walk home after school, let himself into the house and wait for his mother to arrive home from work. His parents had been married 14 years when Jack came along. He was the center of attention as a single child of older parents. His interests and talents led him into figure skating, dance and performance. Jack’s father became a “stage father” as a young child, driving him to countless lessons, rehearsals and performances through high school.
After Jack graduated from Castleberry High School, he continued his education at Texas Wesleyan University, where he graduated with degrees in Theater and Journalism. He then entered Graduate School in San Diego, when he made his first trip to the Big Apple. While in New York City, Jack knocked on the stage door of Radio City Music Hall and asked if they needed any dancers. Shortly after giving his audition, Radio City Music Hall hired him to be a member of their ballet corps. He left Graduate School and entered a world of showbiz crisscrossing the United States. Jack spent time unlearning his Texas accent and dropped Stuteville in favor of the stage name Dyville. From a gig in a national television commercial as an ice skating candy Rolo to Circus World in Florida, where he rode an elephant playing the clarinet, the years of instrumental lessons paid off!
In his 20s and early 30s, he performed with several bus and truck companies, which included “Hello Dolly,” “West Side Story,” and “Cabaret.” His career evolved to choreography and directing. He worked in regional summer theater, dinner theater, and stints as an adjunct professor/director at numerous colleges and universities. He was lucky to find work in a profession he loved. Jack’s father died of lung cancer in January 1976, and, upon his death, Jack returned to Fort Worth to assist his mother. He again entered grad school to fulfill his promise to his dad to finish school. He graduated with an MFA in directing from Texas Christian University.
In 1983, Cargill Production Company in New York City sent Jack to Williston, N.D., to direct a musical variety show for Mercy Hospital. He created the show himself as a charity fundraiser for the hospital. Jack was surprised to discover on the map that North Dakota was directly above Texas and was one of only six states he had not visited. He arrived on Sept. 5, and the whirlwind rehearsal and resulting Cardiac Capers changed his world forever.
Jack found the small Midwestern community welcoming, friendly, and appreciative of the arts. He made many new friends in Entertainment Inc!, a community choral theater group. During this time, Jack moved his mother Jean to Williston as well. Like Jack, she found many new friends and loved her new home. Jack’s mom served as his biggest cheerleader, always loving Williston as much as he did. He decided to open a dance studio, and the doors to The Dance Factory opened in 1984. For years afterward, Jack and his business partner B. Michael Quale produced recitals, ballets, and dance shows. It eventually led to the creation of The Dance Challenge. This competition brought hundreds of dancers to Williston for many years. Dyville and Quale brought the Miss North Dakota competition from Minot to Williston in 1987. They also started YES (Youth Education on Stage), a children’s theatre company and school with programs in both Williston and New York City. Jack also fulfilled his goal of visiting all 50 states during this time.
In 2002, 10 years after his mom’s death, Jack sold his dance school and moved back to New York to pursue his interest in playwriting and theatre production. He met David Fuller at the New York Fringe Festival, a theatre festival in New York City. Together, they created FACT (Friends Always Creating Theatre), which performed countless original productions written and produced by Jack, David and their New York friends. Another major highlight for Jack and David was playing Santa for Macy’s Santa Land for several Christmas seasons. After 10 years of struggling with a benign brain tumor, David died in November 2019.
Jack was quarantined in his apartment in New York City during the COVID-19 pandemic, so he became eager to return to Williston for his annual summer visit. Jack always considered Williston home because of the love and support he received from his many circles of friends and the medical community, which always made him feel safe. In October 2020, Jack was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, which he faced with courage and a positive, hopeful attitude. Jack accomplished three things during this challenging period: he directed a play for Entertainment, Inc!, performed on stage as an actor, and reached his 77th birthday - all of which were goals he had set for himself.
Jack’s Funeral Service was held on Friday, July 15, 2022, at 2 p.m. at The Old Armory in Williston, N.D. Phil Joe officiated. Visitation was held on Thursday, July 14, 2022, from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Fulkerson Stevenson Funeral Home Chapel in Williston, N.D. A Family of Friends Service was held at 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 14, 2022, at the Fulkerson Stevenson Funeral Home Chapel in Williston, N.D.
The Funeral Service was live-streamed on Jack’s obituary page on the website www.fulkersons.com after his service.
Fulkerson Stevenson Funeral Home of Williston, N.D., is assisting the family. Friends may sign the on-line register book and give their condolences at www.fulkersons.com