Jerry A. BRINKMAN

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BRINKMAN, Jerry A. who led an eternally sunny, purpose-driven life, died December 28, 2012, at his home in Dayton, surrounded by family. He was 83. Born Gerhard August Brinkman on December 2, 1929, to Joseph and Lenore Brinkman of Delphos, Ohio, he graduated from Delphos St. John's High School in 1947. He attended the University of Detroit before beginning a lifelong career in sales and marketing. A shy, thoughtful, attentive man, he came to love the wider world that business presented. A business transfer to Plymouth, Indiana, introduced him to Donna Roush, who would become his wife and lifelong partner on June 9, 1951. That same year he was drafted into the Korean War, but because he could type he was sent to Europe where he spent his tour of duty as company clerk for the 450th Ordnance Company, 101st Airborne Division. He later made sure his five children would learn to type, a skill he often said "saved my life." Jerry spent his life as a marketing agent, connecting buyers and sellers - something that became both his vocation and his avocation. He was deeply affected early in his career by the words of Dale Carnegie, whose motto, "Don't criticize, condemn or complain" guided his business and personal life. For thirty years he and his wife owned and operated Industrial Specialists, a marketing firm in Dayton with worldwide clients and customers. An inveterate collector, Jerry filled a succession of garages and outbuildings with electronic parts, antiques, tools and gadgets from estate sales. In later years, he acquired thousands of 8-track tapes, whose warm sounds provided him with endless hours of pleasure in his last months. Jerry was a whistler, unhurried and happy in most things. He was also a skilled carpenter and tinkerer, animated by a sense of play. From a young age, he designed and built paper airplanes. His design for a snub-nosed glider, devised as a schoolboy, would eventually be named winner of the duration aloft category (nonprofessional) in the first International Paper Airplane Competition sponsored by Scientific American in New York City in 1967. On picnics and family outings, Jerry's airplanes drew children and adults from far and wide. For many years he held an annual paper airplane exhibition and fly-in for children at the Dayton Air Show. His own children proudly carried on the paper airplane tradition, sending his flier though countless classrooms and offices. He loved to garden and said during his final months that gardening had taught him many lessons about the continuity of life. He also much enjoyed his long association with the poker players in his life who were a source of humor, camaraderie and abiding friendship. In later years, when business began to consume less of his time, Jerry volunteered as a suicide prevention counselor, where he learned the human capacity for suffering and hopelessness. The work taught him compassion and left him humbled. He later volunteered as a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) for children in troubled circumstances. For most of his adult life, Jerry struggled to reconcile the strictures of his Catholic faith with a growing belief in a more holistic, life-affirming force he came to call "the powers that be." He found strength and great peace through his many dear friends at the Dayton Tree of Life Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation. He intended to live forever, he so enjoyed his life. But a long illness brought him to an acceptance of his own mortality, and he faced each new setback as a challenge with courage and grace. He loved nothing so much as Donna, their children and grandchildren. In his last months he was often overwhelmed with gratitude for the many gifts life had given him. Jerry is survived by Donna, his wife of 61 years; three daughters, Anna Marie (Don) Bowers, of Burton, Ohio; Kathy (Michael Montopoli) of Washington, D.C.; and Patricia of Portland, Maine; two sons, Mark (Victoria Duran) of Chicago; and Phillip (Sarah) of Madison, Wisconsin; grandchildren Sarah Meador, Carmen Montopoli, Shawn Bowers, Nicholas Montopoli, Chaney Burlin, Lina Montopoli, Alexsandra Bowers, and Paley Burlin; three sisters, Ruthie Klima, Margie (Gene) Price, and Joann Klausing; and one brother, Robert. He was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Lenore (Rellinger) Brinkman of Delphos, Ohio. In memory of Jerry's peaceful passing, the family is grateful for donations to Hospice of Dayton, 324 Wilmington Avenue, Dayton, Ohio 45420. Services will be by Baker-Hazel & Snider Funeral Home and Crematory, with burial at Woodland Cemetery. Details to be announced.

Published in Dayton Daily News on Dec. 30, 2012
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