Jerry was born to Charles D and Nell Lorene (Kitts) McCormick in Louisville, Kentucky. His father’s engineering career with Dupont had the family moving many times, but a seven year assignment with the Indiana Ordnance Works near Jeffersonville was a pivotal time in Jerry’s life. Through his grade school and high school years, this shy, intelligent, independent, athletic boy roamed acres of woods that surrounded his small, lovely River Ridge community and used his scouting skills to build tree houses, forts, and campsites. He rode his bike for miles and won swim team medals as did his younger sister Charlene. At this time Jerry and “Char” took piano lessons, enjoyed their parakeet pets, and made each other laugh often. Jerry grew up feeling protective of Char and thoroughly enjoyed having a dear sister.
During these years Jerry developed a deep interest in electronics, built radios and circuit boards, created many working gadgets, drew his own schematic designs, and built and flew large model airplanes. He loved anything to do with aviation which later in his life led to his becoming a private pilot and owning his own plane.
Jerry was an excellent student who excelled in math and science. He was a drummer in his school band and with his rich baritone voice he performed in his high school chorus. He was also a strong, muscular member of the track team and set the pole vaulting record for Jeffersonville High School his junior year.
The magical summer before his senior year he set his shyness aside and made sure that he and Adrienne started dating. They fell in love and were both high school and long-distance college sweethearts. After six years life’s unexpected detours separated them, but they always felt deeply about each other and much later were reunited.
Jerry idolized his older brother Don and, like him, went to Purdue University, graduated with an electrical engineering degree, and was commissioned as an Air Force officer and jet pilot. He was sent to many bases in Texas, Alaska, Michigan, Florida, California, and Oregon. He also served a year in Iceland and was awarded a Presidential Meritorious Air Medal for his intense reconnaissance flights during the Cold War with the Soviet Russians. He was deeply patriotic and proud to serve his country for seven years.
With Don’s tragic death in a private plane accident, Jerry became a “sole surviving son” and to his mother’s relief he became an air traffic controller at Edwards Air Force Base and the Concord Tower in the Bay Area for a total of ten years. Then he went on to become a systems operator for a large utility company, bought a new house in Roseville, CA, and settled in for the next thirty four years. He enjoyed growing trees, vines, and flowers, mowing the lawn, and cooling off in his pool. Stray cats seemed to find and adopt him so he had many fuzzy felines to care for over the years. During this time, Jerry immersed himself in the world of computers, developed his own programs, and pursued his interests in computer graphics, photoshop, music editing, home security, and lighting systems, scanners, ham radio operating, flight simulators, astronomy, UFOs, meteorology, woodworking, and playing his keyboard. He could make and repair almost anything and tackled many difficult projects with determination and inventiveness.
Jerry was passionate about good music and developed a very large and sophisticated collection that included big bands, soft jazz, all the famous orchestral groups and ensembles, pianists and renowned musicians of all types, singers from the 30s-60s and the fun “Golden Oldies.” Many a summers night he would sit in his backyard with the music playing softly and many people walking by would call out over the fence to tell him that they loved the music.
These Roseville years made it possible for Jerry and Adrienne to finally share happy times together and brought them joy and contentment. Jerry's favorite times were weekend jaunts and summer vacations with his friends and their families at the river property at Snug Harbor in the Delta.There he could unwind, enjoy good food and his Budweisers, swim and boat to his heart’s content, get a terrific tan, build great campfires, and all the while be listening to great music. For a few summers he was also able to attend family reunions at Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia.
Sadly, Jerry fell about a year ago and fractured his upper right thigh bone which did not heal correctly. After months of terrible pain, he was hospitalized December 8th, 2021. His earlier vascular problems led to the unexpected amputation of his lower left leg and the discovery of an incurable spinal abscess led to hospice care.
Jerry faced it all with much courage. When he made his high flight to heaven, he took our love with him as he “slipped the surly bonds of earth and sunward climbed” to be with God and those loved ones waiting for him.
Jerry was preceded in death by his parents, brother Don, and little great nephew Marc Loiseau.
He is survived by his long time love Adrienne, sister Charlene (Ed) Plunkett, niece Jennifer (Alain) Loiseau and daughters Corinne and Shannon; niece Kathy Plunkett and daughter Siena; nephew David (Emma) McCormick and children Lucia, Rodrigo, and Julia; niece Diane (Dan) McCormick Hutchinson, son Trevor and daughter Brenda.
If you wish, a memorial donation in Jerry’s name can be made at www.placerspca.org.
To send flowers to Gerald "Jerry" Wayne McCormick's family, please visit our floral store.