Jerry Louis Sherman, age 93, of Lawrence, passed away peacefully at home from natural causes on Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020. Jerry was born in Iola on April 20, 1927, and was the eldest of two sons to Avery Lenox and Parilee Octavia “Tave” (Long) Sherman. Jerry attended schools in Kansas, Texas, and New Mexico as a youth given his father’s employment as a nitroglycerin “shooter” for oil drilling companies. Jerry always considered Iola as his hometown, where he married Iola native Nellouise (Nell) Shanahan on June 10, 1951.
Near the end of World War II, Jerry enlisted in the Army Air Corps and served in North Carolina until 1946. Jerry attended Allen County Community College and the University of Kansas where he studied architecture and was a member of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity. In 1952, Jerry joined the Air Force as a commissioned officer where he earned his “wings” as a licensed pilot in July 1953. Jerry had a 20-year career in the Air Force, flying thousands of hours in 19 different aircraft, including a year-long Vietnam War tour in 1967-68 where he flew over 1,200 hours of combat missions in a Cessna 0-1 Bird Dog. During his career, Jerry earned 14 medals including the Distinguished Flying Cross, The Bronze Star and The Meritorious Service Medal. Air Force career highlights include being a member of Strategic Air Command (SAC) and piloting a communications plane during President Richard Nixon’s tour around the world in 1969. Jerry retired from the Air Force at the rank of Major. The family moved to Lawrence in 1972 where Jerry worked at Packer Plastics as a purchasing agent. Jerry also had a 15-year career with the U.S Post Office in Lawrence when he retired in 1994.
Nell and Jerry have three sons: Tom (born 1953), Barry (1959), and Fred (1964); and one daughter Penny (1955).
Jerry’s love for flying led to the purchase of a new Cessna 152 (N94962) in the mid-1980s where Jerry flew the plane to Lawrence from the Cessna factory in Wichita. Jerry utilized his Cessna 152 for many years as a flight instructor. He taught dozens in the Lawrence area how to fly, including his sons and daughter. Jerry kept his pilot’s license active and current well after he turned 80. Jerry was an Eagle Scout at the age of 14, a Boy Scouts leader, a Mason, and belonged to the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) and other fraternal organizations during his lifetime.
Jerry was preceded in death by his wife of 61 years, Nellouise of Lawrence; his parents of Wichita Falls, Texas; and his brother, Thomas Avery Sherman of Mount Pleasant, Texas. Jerry is survived by sons, Thomas B. and wife Marilyn, Barry N. and wife Rita, Frederick L. and wife Susan, all of Olathe, and his daughter, Penny Tubbs Johnson and husband Gary, of Arlington, Texas; nine grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.
Funeral services were Nov. 20 in Lawrence. His body was laid to rest at Lawrence Memorial Park Cemetery.