Gerard F. "Jerry" Koontz Sr.
May 9, 1943 - January 19, 2021
Bradenton, Florida -
Gerard F. "Jerry" Koontz, Sr., 77, of Bradenton, FL, passed away on January 19, 2021. Jerry passed at home, with loving family at his side, following complications from a fall in October 2020. Jerry was born May, 9, 1943, (Mother's Day), in Baltimore, MD, to Alfred J., Sr., and Mary Agnes (Valis) Koontz.
He is predeceased by his loving wife of almost 47 years, Pam, his parents and his older brother, Alfred J. "Al" Koontz, Jr. He is survived by his two children; daughter, Kathe (Todd) of Raleigh, NC and his son, Gerry (Gizelle) of Bradenton, FL; two grandsons; Matthew and Nicholas; his brother, Raymond Koontz (Nora) of Vero Beach, FL; his sister, Mary Lou Baikauskas of Baldwin, MD, many nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews and cousins. Jerry is also survived by his best little buddy, Franky the Yorkie, with whom he had an undeniable bond.
Jerry grew up in Baltimore, MD. He was one of 4 children (2 brothers and 1 sister). He had his first paying job at 12 years old and worked until he retired in 2012. Following high school, Jerry went to Penn State University. He graduated in 1965 with a BS Degree in Management. During college, he completed 4 years of Air Force ROTC. Upon graduation, Jerry was commissioned into the Air Force as a Second Lieutenant. He was called to active duty that September 1st. Jerry thought he would take a break between college and the Air Force, but his Mom had other plans. The summer was spent helping to renovate a home his family built into a convent for the nuns at their church. He never forgot how his Mom drove to see him at work one day, crying, holding his Military papers. She was incredibly proud but scared that her son was going into the Military while the Vietnam War was escalating. Jerry's parents were incredibly proud of his commitment to serve our country. They enjoyed spending time with the family in Naples, Italy. Jerry was the ultimate tour guide, and they traveled Europe like stars during their stay. Jerry's first assignment was Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. While there, he was given command of the 3396th Student Squadron, which grew to nearly 800 Airmen during the Vietnam Buildup. It was in Biloxi that Jerry met and married Pam, and had their first child, daughter, Kathe. In November 1967, Jerry was assigned to 355th Tactical Fighter Wing at Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base in Thailand, one of several bases in Thailand supporting air war over North Vietnam. Follow-on assignments included Headquarters Systems Command, Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland where he and Pam had their second child, son, Gerry; Headquarters Allied Forces Southern Europe (NATO), Naples, Italy; 438th Military Airlift Wing and Headquarters 21st Air Force, McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey; Air Force Inspector General Team, Norton Air Force Base, California and Headquarters United States Readiness Command and Joint Deployment Agency, MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, FL.
Jerry retired from active duty on October 1, 1985 as a Lieutenant Colonel at MacDill. Following his Military career, Jerry went into the Investment and Insurance Business serving Military clients in Tampa. In 1989, he started working for United Way. Following two United Way positions in North Carolina, Jerry was given an opportunity to return to Florida in 1993 as President for United Way of Manatee County. Jerry brought great success to, and exceeded, the fundraising goals at United Way. He enjoyed working with a variety of companies and individuals, becoming friends with so many of them. He participated in approximately 20 Boards, Councils, Committees, and Associations that deal with Quality-of-Life Issues on both a county-wide and regional basis. Jerry retired from the United Way of Manatee County in 2012. But he did not sit still. The Military gave him the opportunity to serve his country. United way gave him the opportunity to serve his community. Jerry wanted to continue to serve and do something meaningful. In 2010, Jerry was recognized as Manatee County Veteran of the Year. Recipients of this award are selected based upon their service to other Veterans, active Military and their families, patriotic endeavors, educating the community about veterans' historic impact on democracy throughout the world, and other community service. This is the highest honor that the commission bestows annually upon a veteran. Following his retirement from United Way, Jerry put countless hours into volunteer work. He proudly served on and held positions of Vice President, Advisor, Board Chair, Treasurer, Trustee, Chairman, Founder, as well as others, with several organizations, to include American Legion, Air Force Association, MOAA, MOWW, MOTS, VETS, Suncoast Workforce, Knight Foundation, Bradenton Enterprise Board, United Way Foundation, Kiwanis Club of Bradenton, and others.
Anyone that knows Jerry will tell you that he had an incredible heart and a passion to help others. He is widely considered to be a brother, father-figure, best friend, confidant, and more. His friends and family loved hearing his amazing stories from being in the Air Force and especially his Dad Jokes. Jerry looked out for others more than himself and will always be remembered as one of the most humble, kind, caring, loving, quietly generous and compassionate souls you could ever meet. I am the luckiest one of all, as I am his daughter. My Dad raised my brother and me with love, compassion, honesty, structure and never-ending support for our life goals. I will cherish forever that we had the last 3 months together. One of my Dad's last wishes and how he lived his life, was to share this: if you see a need that you can fill, fill it; if there is someone you can help, help them. Don't wait for these opportunities to find you – go find them.
Jerry's Memorial Service will be held11:00AM, Friday, February 5, 2021 at Sarasota National Cemetery, 9810 State Road 72, Sarasota, FL 34241. A Celebration of Life will follow at 1:00PM at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota, 1000 Boulevard of the Arts, Sarasota, FL 34236. Hotel rooms are available at a special rate, noted as Koontz Family. Brown & Sons Funeral Homes & Crematory 43rd Street Chapel, 604 43rd Street West, Bradenton, FL 34209 is in charge of the arrangements. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the following organizations: Bradenton Kiwanis Foundation, P. O. Box 1032, Bradenton, FL 34206-1032. Checks made payable to Bradenton Kiwanis Foundation with Jerry Koontz in the memo. MOAA-BC, P. O. Box 381, Bradenton, FL 34206. Checks made payable to MOAA-BC with Jerry Koontz in the memo. (This is the Military Officers Association of America). Condolences may be made to www.brownandsonsfuneral.com