Remembering Jerry Gillespie

good manJerry Gillespie passed from this life to the next life today.  He is better off.  It would be impossible to honor every friend I have who has died with a post on this blog, but Jerry is unique.  So he gets this place today.

I think anyone who knew him would agree Jerry was unique.  He, in fact, would be the first to agree.  “Flat top” as many knew him was joy-filled man with convictions from the first time I met him.  And that would be the day I interviewed for a position at Suncrest over 13 years ago.  He was on the team that interviewed me, he and Shirley came to my college graduation a few months later to represent the church I was preparing the serve.  He took me to breakfast on my first Monday in the office, July 15, 1996. 

I needed to borrow a truck for an event my first week on staff and guess who I called?  Over the years, I’ve had the chance to roast him at a surprise birthday party (I believe the enormous number of emails he was “forwarding” at the time was my topic of choice).  I’ve watched him lead in behind the scenes areas like the offering counters, I’ve been to “Young at Heart” Christmas parties he hosted, backyard parties at their home, and watched him play Santa Claus himself on more than one occasion.

What would we talk about?  Politics and Religion.  Those may be taboo for some in conversation, but not if you were with Jerry.

Funny Stories?  I have a long list of them both that he told and that happened to him.  When he would tell me one, he would often start with “Now you probably can’t use this on Sunday…”(though they were typically tame).   My favorite  one about him is still him counting one of suncrest’s first offerings and then putting it in the night depository of the WRONG bank.  (It all worked out.)

Faithful friend?  Yes, to many.  I experienced much of it, but talking to good men like John Wasem and the late Gene McKean made me appreciate Jerry deeply on that front. 

Purdue Fan.  Conservative.  Family Man.  Patriot.  Christ-follower.  And more…more than could ever be decribed here.

I got to spend about an hour at his bedside last week.  I held his hand and prayed.  We laughed a little and talked a little.  As much as he could.  I’ll miss Jerry.  And I much anticipate seeing him again.

~ by Greg Lee on June 30, 2009.

9 Responses to “Remembering Jerry Gillespie”

  1. Greg, what a moving tribute to Jerry. He was indeed a man of character.

    Martha & Will

  2. He was also one of the first members of the Suncrest “Garden Club” a few years ago. A gardener who especially loved growing huge dahlias. I think of him every time I see one. Definitely a great guy.

  3. Thanks! Jerry and Shirley worked very willingly for Young At Heart.

  4. Thanks! A very fitting tribute. Jerry and Shirley worked very willingly for Young At Heart.

  5. Thanks! Jerry and Shirley hosted the Young At Heart with willing hearts.

  6. Jerry was a great man. He will be missed by many. My heartfelt sympathy to Shirley and their family. I really enjoyed reading what you wrote Greg.

  7. Well said, Greg. Thanks. I’ll forward you via email my somewhat lengthy personal eulogy that I wrote while here at the North American Christian Convention in Louisville and if you want to make it available that is fine with me. Your call. I head up to Lake County tomorrow late afternoon to share in the funeral. JW

    • Thanks, John. I got the email and what you wrote is wonderful. I’ve got permission from my program down here at Wabash to come back tomorrow evening for the visitation, but I will unfortunately miss the funeral on Friday due to the commitment here.

      I’d like to post the eulogy on my blog. Will wait until after the funeral to do so.

      Greg

  8. Jerry and Shirley were one of our first contacts when we started coming to Suncrest about 13 years ago. We met in the first “supper club,” and they very quickly became dear friends. We did breakfast, we did Bible study, we did supper club, we did concerts, and we did much of our life with Jerry and Shirley. Jerry always rubbed it in that our son chose the “right” school over our IU. Jerry was, like you said, kind, caring and never failed to make us laugh. We will miss him so much.

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