The first time I can recall seeing Jerry was an afternoon almost 20 years back. He was leaving the club house at the golf course; he walked out the door headed to his waiting golf cart and his golfing partner for the day. He held a couple of beers in his hand, a cigarette hung from his lips, and he released a blue streak of curse words at someone in the club house behind him. He let out a loud belly laugh, climbed into his golf cart and off he went. What drastic changes would occur in Jerry’s life over the next 20 years!
On that afternoon Chris and another guy were with me to play a threesome. The other guy asked, “Do you know who that was?” I said that I did not. He said, “That dude is Jerry Scott, believed by many to be, perhaps, the best fishing guide in the entire Coastal Bend” . . . and he showed great respect for this man he viewed as a fishing legend. He went on to confirm his statement by telling us that a boat company had given Jerry a brand new boat to use, in exchange for the right-to-use of Jerry in their advertising campaign! Chris said, “Dad he has family who goes to our Church; a young man name Eric, who sings in the Choir.” After that I would see Jerry on occasion, and I heard his name from time-to-time. He was regarded by pretty much everyone I knew as an excellent fishing guide and was reported to be a very good golfer. I never heard anyone say anything unpleasant about him. Then, he just seemed to vanish in thin air . . . I never saw him at the Club or heard tell of him.
Several years later, my friend Charlie Williams mentioned Jerry in passing. He said that he had his RV-trailer parked on a lot in Fulton that belonged to Jerry. I told Charlie that I had not seen nor heard of Jerry in years. Charlie explained that Jerry had gone to Reno to be a gambler several years earlier, and no one heard much from him anymore.
Then about three years ago Jerry showed up in this area again. Charlie introduced me to Jerry and we became instant friends. Jerry explained that while living in Reno, he had been diagnosed with cancer. He said he left Reno and flew to DFW to see his daughter, Stephanie, a health-care professional. He took great pleasure in telling that Stephanie is an administrator of a cancer-research center in the DFW area. He proudly said that Stephanie took excellent care of him. He said she had arranged treatment and he was confident he had beaten cancer, and was now well. When I met Jerry this time around, he had a great head of snow-white hair, which he said was all new growth after the chemo. In addition to the cancer struggle, Jerry had also had heart disease and survived several heart by-passes. My friend was one tough dude!
As we became better acquainted, I got to talk with Jerry concerning spiritual matters. He said that he had lived wrong much of his life, but openly declared that he knew the Lord and had made a recent commitment to serve him for whatever time he had left. Jerry became a member of my Sunday school class and I saw him fulfill that commitment to serve the Lord. He loved to go to Charlie’s Place, our Saturday night ministry. Many times I would not have been able to attend if it had not been for Jerry coming to my house and assisting me. Jerry was a great encourager of all who served in that ministry, as well as for the fractured, hurting, and struggling kids who live at Charlie’s Place. Jerry laid up treasure in Heaven for his work with that ministry.
Jerry became a faithful passenger on the Mexico dental trips. He loved making the trip down, having lunch at Arturo’s, shopping for items for his daughters and grandkids, and stopping back at King’s Inn for dinner on the way home. He loved to laugh and be with people who were kind and respectful to him. He became a very kind, tenderhearted, and gentle fellow over recent years. He would always say, “I don’t need a thing, but I just love to go with the group.” Early on, he had a struggle getting back through customs into the USA because he didn’t have a passport, and he was simply too hardheaded to go to the Post Office and get one. Finally, Sandy sent off to Baton Rouge and got his birth certificate. I kept a copy of it inside my passport case in the console of my suburban, just knowing he would always forget to bring it along. That was the source of many laughs for us all . . . especially Jerry.
Jerry and Charlie were the dearest of friends . . . they truly loved one another and had been buds for 50 years. When Jerry came back here, he lived with Charlie in his small trailer for a while. Charlie asked me to sell my 5th-wheel trailer to Jerry . . . and to sell it on credit . . . which I was glad to do. Our pal, Roger Horan, pulled it over and set it up beside Charlie’s trailer, and Jerry moved in and announced it as his new home! Charlie and Jerry both lived on small social security checks and made do. They lived simply and didn’t have much need for money, just a little gas for the boat and some items of tackle. The interesting thing was each one had family members of significant means, but neither ever bothered to ask for help. They simply made it on their own . . . and both were genuinely happy, and felt blessed. Of course, Sandy and I would have done anything for either one of them, or given them anything they wanted, and they both knew it.
Jerry and Charlie bickered like an old married couple, and their neighbors said they were living out the movie “Grumpy Old Men.” Both, secretly, suggested the other suffered from Alzheimer’s and needed medical attention, and fully believed that his presence was all that stood between his friend and life in a nursing home. Late last year, Charlie flew his boat into the bait house at the marina while Jerry was in Fort Worth seeing his doctors. Charlie’s accident grieved Jerry and he would occasionally say to me that if he had been here Charlie would not have been injured. His reasoning was that he would have been driving the boat and that accident would not have happened. Jerry sincerely believed that he could have protected Charlie from that tragic experience . . . if only he had been around. He grieved over that while Charlie was fighting his way back.
Jerry was involved in a serious auto accident on Monday, July 21st, and he was placed in ICU at Memorial Hospital in Corpus Christi. My friend, Jerry Lee Scott, passed away in the early morning hours on Wednesday. His Memorial Service will be at 11:00 a.m. Monday, July 28th, at First Baptist Church, Rockport. The last time I saw him was Tuesday evening in the ICU ward. The next morning, I received a call from Charlie. I just sat down and wept. Yet, I know where my friend is and I know that I will see him again.
Some personal thoughts about my friend, Jerry:
- I recently learned that he had been a gifted athlete, and a star football player in high school, and that he had been a very good bowler . . . and had even bowled a 300 game;
- He loved small children, and had a very tender heart toward them. He adored the little twins, Jett and Katy, from the pool (who are the focus of another blog herein) and he delighted in seeing them and hearing them holler “Hello, Jerry” as he walked up to the pool from his car;
- My wife, Sandy, says that Jerry was one of the sweetest and kindest men she has ever known;
- Jerry was amazingly accepting of people . . . regardless of who they were, where they came from, the color of their skin, their appearance, or their political inclinations; Jerry just accepted folks as they were;
- Jerry loved sporting events and over the past couple of years came to love the San Antonio Spurs and after the 2014 NBA Finals, he declared this year’s Spurs as the greatest BB team to ever play the game;
- He would help anyone, at any time, with anything they needed. With Jerry it truly was, “You have not, because you ask not”;
- Jerry regretted some of the decisions he had made earlier in life, as well as how he lived his younger life; but, he was convinced the Lord had both forgiven him, and had given him a new opportunity. He had, indeed, given Jerry another opportunity, and Jerry used it in a prudent fashion;
- Jerry Lee Scott was not a famous man; he was not a wealthy man; nor was Jerry an accomplished, polished man . . . but he was a man . . . and he was a man who knew how to be a friend, a man who knew how to treat other people; he knew how to laugh and enjoy life . . . and he was a man who knew the waters of the Coastal Bend . . . he knew where the fish were and how to catch them, and that made him walk with a bit of a bounce in his step and to stand a little taller in the crowd. Jerry was of great stock, a proud heritage . . . Jesus loved fishermen and they were some of His first Disciples. Jerry also became one of Jesus’ disciples; and
- The great Apostle Paul said that “For to me, to live is Christ, but to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) What did Jerry gain in death? He gained several things, as follows:
. . . Jerry gained a new body . . . a body free of cancer, free of heart disease, free of diabetes, free of arthritis, and all the aches and pains from 70+ years of living.
. . . Jerry got a grand new home. Never again a small 5th-wheel trailer, in which he fought with bedbugs.
. . . Jerry got a new song . . . and today he has joined with a choir of 10,000 singing praises around the throne of God.
It Seems to me . . . the Lord really blessed me by allowing my path to cross with Jerry’s path and for my friendship with this good and decent man. I will miss him . . . . I will miss his big smile, his quick wit, and his gentle ways.
Paul was certainly right about death being gain! R I P . . . My Dear Friend!