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Gerald Piltz

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Gerald Piltz Obituary
Gerald "Jerry" Piltz

1925 - 2013

Biloxi, MS

Gerald Piltz was born in Greenwood, Mississippi on August 11, 1925 and died in the caring arms of his wife, Jean, more than 87 years later at 8:05 in the morning on May 24, 2013. He was a good man in the true sense of the word and a real Southern Gentleman of poise, humility, and charm. He lived an unselfish life of love, kindness, honest, integrity, and accomplishment, and he did it all with good humor.

Jerry, as he was known to his friends, acquaintances, and clients, raised a family with his first great love, Flora Jo Mansfield, shared 48 wonderful years together, and after Flo passed away in 1998 mourned her deeply for many years. Then he fell in love with his second great love, Jean Brewington, and their time together was filled with the adventurous joys of a love when you least expect it and the deep satisfactions of second love, plus the warm energy of Jean's children and their families as well as an entirely new set of memories.

In his public life, Jerry was more than the sum of his accomplishments and was a man of more accomplishments than most people were aware of. In more or less chronological order, here are some of his achievements, many of them done in public service.

Jerry was valedictorian of Greenwood High School in Leflore County. He and a tennis teammate were high school doubles champions for the state of Mississippi. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from LSU and belonged to Phi Beta Kappa and several other honor organizations. He was president of his fraternity, Zeta Beta Tau, and thoroughly enjoyed college life and long afterward continued using the phrase, "See you on the campus", as a goodbye.

He left LSU when called into the United States Army, and he soon became the youngest Master Sergeant in the history of the Army at that time. Prior to that, he had proven his toughness by enduring three consecutive basic trainings due to becoming seriously ill near the conclusion of the first two. Once deployed, he served at the end of World War II in the Philippines, becoming part of The Greatest Generation. He was offered Officer Training School but turned it down to follow instead his plans to become a CPA and returned to LSU to continue his studies after going home for one day to see his parents. After graduation, a successful fulfilling career began in earnest.

Jerry worked initially for a large CPA firm in New Orleans, Baton Pilier Hughes & Jones, and was soon transferred to help run the Biloxi office. On June 1, 1962, he and A. C. Simms also of the Biloxi branch bought their office from the parent firm. It later became Piltz, Williams, LaRosa, & Company, still a growing mainstay of the Gulf Coast. He also became president of the Mississippi Society of CPAs for 1960-61 and after that president of the Southern States Society of CPAs.

He also served on a Biloxi School Board committee to pass a bond to air-condition the public shcools for the first time, and served also as a liaison for the coast with the Small Business Administration after Hurricane Camille. He was founding treasurer, in 1958, of Beth Israel Community Center, and Governor William Winter appointed Jerry to the Mississippi Coast Coliseum Commission, where he served till 1994, when he received a commendation from the commission for his "material aid, inspiration, and leadership".

In 1976, Jerry became King Ixolib, the king of the Gulf Coast Carnival Association's Mardi Gras celebration. He later became the organization's president. This was a good fit, because carnival involved a lot of dancing, something Jerry had been fond of from an early age. In fact, women used to line up to dance with Jerry because of his skills and manners. Many years later, Jerry and Jean would together create a far different kind of contribution to the common good, when they created at Tulane Medical School the Gerald Piltz and Flora Jo Mansfield Piltz Professorship in Cancer Research.

Jerry was an extremely devoted LSU football and baseball fan, more than holding his own in a sea of Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and USM fans. He thoroughly enjoyed the LSU national football championship in 1958, thanks to Billy Cannon's Halloween night punt return for a touchdown against Ole Miss, but had to wait a seeming eternity for LSU football to become a powerhouse again, in the new millennium, but well worth the wait. And only a few years ago, Dad got to witness in person LSU's baseball team win the College World Series in Omaha, thanks to Jean's efforts along with a daughter and her family, who live in Omaha.

Jerry was also a devoted family man. He was a loving husband and partner. He was dance recital dad, piano recital dad, choir dad, homework helper dad, speech coach dad, little league dad, outdoor-hamburger-grilling husband and dad, and kite-flying at the beach dad. He also was tender-hearted animal-loving dad. He loved his Nicholas the dog and lastly his Della, Jean's sweet cat, who would almost never let Jerry out of her sight. And not the least of his virtues was that he was a good listener, something on which you could depend when in conversation with him.

In all of his accomplishment, activities, and relationships, Jerry never made them about himself. He did enjoy his turn in the spotlight, but he enjoyed your turn in the spotlight just as much. He knew when to take a bow, and he knew when it was your turn and made sure you took it.

And when he was forced to take his own final bow, he did it, despite health difficulties, with kindness and consideration. He made it a point to tell his loved ones, more than once, that he was at peace, that he had found peace, and he truly had.

Jerry was preceded in death by his first wife, Flora Jo Piltz, and brother, Jay Piltz. Left to cherish his memory are his wife, Jean Piltz; children, Larry Piltz and his wife, Grace Wamble, Susan Pinsker and her husband, Jerry; step-children, Debbie Twiggs and her husband Jim, Kenneth "Buddy" Brewington and his wife, Janan, Dianna Hardman and her husband Brad; grandchildren, Eliot Piltz, Preston Neal, Marlee Neal, Keith (Virginia) Polovich, Kenneth Polovich, Bryan (Adam) Santella, Brittany Brewington, Kaitlyn Hardman, Braden Hardman and Brett Brewington; great grandchildren, Evan, Beau, Maddox and Colston; and a host of family in England whom Jerry cherished and adored.

A special thanks to Deaconess Home Care and Hospice for the loving care and attention they provided Jerry during his illness.

In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to Wounded Warriors Project, P. O. Box 758517, Topeka, Kansas 66675, or to USO, United Services Organization, Inc., P. O. Box 96860, Washington DC 20077-7677.

Visitation is 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 28, 2013, at Bradford-O'Keefe Funereal Home, 675 Howard Avenue, in Biloxi. Funeral services will be 11:00 a.m. Wednesday in the funeral home chapel. Interment will follow in Southern Memorial Park with military honors.

View and sign register book at www.bradfordokeefe.com.

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Published in The Sun Herald from May 27 to May 29, 2013
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