Jerry Roosevelt Landis, age 74, died at his home on Monday, October 8, 2007, following a courageous battle with brain cancer. Jerry was born February 22, 1933, in Long Beach, California to the late Benjamin and Awilda Landis. He graduated from Scottsdale High School in 1951 and attended Phoenix College where he received a degree in Business Management while playing football for the Bears. During this time Jerry learned to fly, obtaining a private pilots license from friend Don Amos who owned and operated a flight school in Phoenix, Arizona. Jerry was drafted in 1955 and served in the U.S. Army for two years in Fairbanks, Alaska. Jerry joined a local flying club while in Fairbanks and began photographing the area from the air along with an Army buddy who was an amateur photographer. Always the entrepreneur, Jerry would sell aerial photographs of the of the military base and of Fairbanks to his fellow soldiers as they waited in the pay line. So began a career in aerial photography that would span 50 years. Jerry returned to Phoenix after his military service where with the help of a $500 loan from his father, he purchased a plane and small aerial camera. In 1958 he started Landis Aerial Surveys (later known as Landiscor) where for thirty years he provided the rapidly growing Phoenix real estate industry with aerial photography. Jerry married in 1961 and had two children. Landis Aerial Surveys eventually grew into a nationwide company with offices from Seattle to Washington DC. Jerry sold the company in 1989 only to go on to start two more aerial photography firms (AirPhotoUSA and Aerials Express) in the 1990's. Jerry was a member of Crossroads Methodist Church, the Men's Art Council, Phoenix Rotary and the Phoenix Country Club, and he served on the board of A Stepping Stone Foundation, an organization that provides high quality literacy based programs for preschool children and their families. Jerry was awarded Business Man of the Year in 1989 by the Isaac District Governing Board for his support of education. Jerry was an avid tennis player, hiker and world traveler. Jerry and his wife of six years Sharon had just returned from a trip to Ireland when he was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme in October, 2006. Jerry is survived by his wife Sharon Quaid Landis; his son William and daughter-in-law Wendy; daughter Allison Landis; two grandchildren Tanner and Danielle; brother Richard Landis, step-daughter Jennifer Harrison, step-daughter Melissa Fusani and her husband Mark, step-grandchildren Grace and Samuel Fusani. In addition to his parents, Jerry is preceded in death by his sister Benny Jean Landis. Memorial services will be held Saturday, October 13th at 3:00 PM at Desert Hills Mortuary located at 6500 E. Bell Road, Phoenix. Private burial services will be held separately. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in the name of Jerry Landis to A Stepping Stone Foundation, P.O. Box 84318, Phoenix, AZ 85071. The family would like to thank everyone who has provided comfort and support throughout his illness, and especially to all of the staff of the Barrow Neurological Institute.
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Published in The Arizona Republic from October 11 to October 12, 2007