Jerry Clyde was a person who celebrated life on his own terms. He ignored the status quo and was described most accurately in his later years as a Fighter. We would also add the following to his attribute list: Giver, Protector, Traveler, Conversationalist, and Foodie.
Jerald Raymond Clyde was born in Davenport, Iowa on June 22, 1952. He grew up in Davenport where he graduated from West High School in 1970. With a full-ride scholarship from Upward Bound, he attended the University of Iowa where he completed his undergraduate degree and where he met his wife, Margaret Young of Cedar Rapids. Together they raised two children, Jennifer and Ethan, and were blessed with a son in law, Aaron and a daughter in law, Ramona as well as four grandchildren, Kyndel, Kaden, Joseph, and Davien. Jerry worked to earn his Masters Degree which began a rewarding career in Human Resources for Eagles Foods, the University of Iowa Hospitals, Shaw Electric, Vera French, Blackhawk County, and Pella, Iowa. He retired from his role as the Director of Human Resources for Rock Island County in February of 2018. He is surpassed in death by his parents Jeanne and Charles and sister Margaret and is survived by his wife, children, and grandchildren as well as his brother Rex and sisters Kathy, Marsha, and Mary and his beloved dog, Lucy.
When Jerry was first diagnosed with cancer, he was given the statistic that he would live another 6 to 12 months. He defied those odds and instead made it his business to do everything he could to combat cancer. In the end, he made it more than 30 months before the fight was done. In that time, Jerry fit in a lifetime’s worth of experiences including trips to Europe and many locations around the United States where he was able to visit with all his family and friends. Because being around people and especially children brought him so much joy, he decided the best job in the world for him after retirement was to drive the train at the Niabi Zoo where he dressed in full train conductors gear and made it the ride of a lifetime for every child who boarded. Additionally, nothing delighted him more than ensuring his grandchildren had wonderful life experiences.
Jerry always worked to have the final say in all life’s choices. While some things were outside of his control, his influence and legacy are forever with us from the choices that he did make to live his best life, take care of his family, and spread joy to everyone he met. In one of the last conversations we had with him, he expressed that he wanted no part in a funeral but would rather have a Celebration of Life event where all his family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors could gather to celebrate what we loved about Jerry, share stories, and eat good food. We are tentatively planning this event to take place on August 1, 2020. More details will be posted on the Facebook events page as they are finalized: http://tiny.cc/jerrylives
As his family, we knew Jerry to be a giant among men, and if he was in your corner, you would have no one who would cheer for you louder that he did. Our sadness at losing him is eclipsed by our joy that he is no longer in any pain and is with our lord God in the kingdom of Heaven.
In lieu of flowers, we ask that you consider making a donation to the Esophageal Cancer Awareness Association in honor of Jerry’s fight: http://tiny.cc/fundsforECAA
In writing our words to describe his life, we find that Frank Sinatra said it best:
“And yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way
I've loved, I've laughed and cried
I've had my fill, my share of losing
But now, as tears subside, I find it all so amusing
To think I did all that
And may I say, not in a shy way
Oh, no, oh, no, not me, I did it my way.”
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