Gerald F. Jennings

December 3, 1926 - July 21, 2011

COOPERSTOWN - Gerald F. ("Jerry") Jennings, a native of Cooperstown, died Thursday morning, July 21, 2011, with his loving family beside him at Otsego Manor.  He was 84.

Born December 3, 1926, at the family homestead in Phoenix Mills, he was one of  seven children of Charles E. and Frances A. (Trask) Jennings.

Raised in Cooperstown, he attended local schools until he enlisted in the military in 1945.  He proudly served his country in the United States Army with the Headquarters Squadron 4th Air Depot Group during World War II and was stationed in the Philippines when the peace treaty ending the war was signed. He received his Honorable Discharge from the military on December 19, 1946,  having attained the rank of Sergeant First Class.  Just recently he received a Certificate of Appreciation for his service in the United States Army on behalf of the partnership between Catskill Area Hospice and the Veterans Administration.

He returned to his native Cooperstown, and on August 27, 1950, he married the former Mildred L. ("Millie") Bridger  in the parsonage of the Westville Baptist Church with the Rev. Walter Miller officiating.  For the next 60 years, Jerry and Millie made their home and raised their family on Elm Street in the Village of Cooperstown.  

His career as a master plumber started with McEwan Hardware in Cooperstown. He was first employed in retail sales, and then moved into their shop where he became the foreman.  In 1969 Jerry and Merritt Harvey went into business together and formed Harvey and Jennings, Inc., which provided plumbing and heating services.  In 1974 Jerry and Merritt both received opportunities to work for the State of New York and dissolved their business.  Jerry was hired by the State of New York as a foreman on the restoration of  Hyde Hall and was also in charge of the restoration of a broom factory in Schoharie County.  In 1976 he was promoted to Building Restoration Specialist for the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation in the Central New York Region and retired in 1984.

Of the Baptist faith, Jerry was also a member of the Clark F. Simmons American Legion Post No. 579 and the Sgt. Walter P. Eggleston Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 7128.

When he wasn't working, Jerry was happiest at home, always fixing what needed to be fixed - a vacation would actually have been work to him.  He will be greatly missed by his family and long-time friends. 

Jerry is survived by his wife of 60 years, Millie, of Cooperstown; two sons and daughters-in-law, Gary and Susan Jennings of Hartwick and Charles ("Chip") and Carol Jennings of Cooperstown; one daughter and son-in-law, Susan and William McCormick of Catskill; five grandchildren, Jessica Bryan and her husband Mark, Bernadette Wellek and her husband Mike, Colleen Lanigan, Adam Jennings and Kerri Jennings; three step grandchildren, Angelina, Joey and Kyrie McCormick; two great grandchildren, Christopher and Mia Bryan; one sister, Alice Tomasi of Richfield Springs; one brother, Ronald Jennings and his wife Edith of Phoenix Mills; many nieces and nephews, including a special niece, Phyllis Newell and her husband Mike; and a special lifelong family friend, Tom Morrissey of New York City.

He was predeceased by four brothers, Robert C. Jennings, Richard A. Jennings, Arnold R. Jennings and Douglas L. Jennings.

Friends may call at the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown from 7-9 p.m. on Thursday, July 28, 2011, when Jerry's family will be in attendance.

A memorial service will be offered at the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home at 11 a.m. on Friday, July 29, 2011, with the Rev. Douglas Deer, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Cooperstown, officiating.  Burial will follow in Hartwick Seminary Cemetery, where Military Honors will be accorded by members of the Clark F. Simmons American Legion Post No. 579, the Sgt. Walter P. Eggleston Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 7128, and a contingent from the New York State Military Forces Honor Guard.

In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy in the form of memorial gifts may be made to Catskill Area Hospice and Palliative Care, 1 Birchwood Drive, Oneonta, NY  13820, or Cooperstown Emergency Squad, P.O. Box 322, Cooperstown, NY  13326, or to a charity of your choice.

Arrangements are under the guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.

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