Jerry Edward Townsend was born December 18, 1935 to Orie and Evelyn Townsend. Jerry grew up in Bedford, Iowa and graduated from Bedford High School. During his senior year, Jerry started what would become his long journey of service.
In 1953, he entered into the United States Navy, serving four years on the USS aircraft carrier Shangri-La, after he had completed his training in San Diego Naval Air Base. The USS Shangri-La was one of 24 Essex-class aircraft carriers that was completed after World War II. Jerry was active working on the deck of the carrier. His job was to be ready to watch for the air crafts that came into land on the carrier as well as aircraft that was ready to take off on the flight deck. Jerry would either make sure that “chalks” which were placed behind the incoming aircrafts so the wheels would not be able to roll due to the carrier’s motion. When air crafts were ready to take off from the flight deck, Jerry would remove the “chalks” from the air crafts. He eventually was called for a second duty which took him to the aircraft tower. That job consisted of relaying messages from the Captain to the crew down on the flight deck. Of the four years Jerry was on the carrier, he did 7 months on active tour as the Korean Conflict was getting serious. Half-way to where they were assigned to go, the carrier was advised all was calming down. Jerry’s next assignment was another alert some months later and they headed out to sea. Eventually, all calmed down. 7 more months on tour to various countries. The last of his tour he was sent to Monterey, CA where he received his honorable discharge completing his 4 years with the Navy.
During these years, Jerry met and fell in love with Annette Castro. Jerry and Annette were married on June 8, 1958 in Galt, CA. Jerry applied for several jobs in California but the job market wasn’t hiring much at that time, so he felt it was time to move on and to bring his wife to Iowa so his family could meet his wife. Due to Jerry’s father’s health, his parents were un-able to attend the wedding. To this union were 5 children: 4 daughters, Adrianne, Jan, Tammy, and Trudy and 1 son Randy. Jerry always thought Annette looked like Annette Funiculi. Their roots were planted in Iowa.
Jerry and Annette’s first home was in Clarinda, Iowa where Jerry found a job at Lyle’s Corp in Clarinda. His job was helping in the freight line. He worked there for 3 months as his dream was to get into Law Enforcement. Jerry was accepted by the Clarinda Police Dept at the beginning of his career. After 1 ½ years on the police department, Jerry applied for the Shenandoah, IA Police Dept for 5 ½ years. Still having the desire to further his dreams,
Jerry applied for the Iowa Highway Patrol (which now goes by Iowa State Patrol). After applying twice, he was hired! His dream came true. His first assignment after he completed his training was at Lamoni, IA. After 1 ½ years in Lamoni, there was an opening in Mount Ayr as Trooper Wayne Peterson was being assigned to Des Moines. In August 1967, Jerry was re-assigned to Mount Ayr, IA. Jerry fulfilled his 25 years with the Iowa State Patrol on May 27, 1990-now retired!
This was the beginning for Jerry. He soon applied for Papetti’s Egg Plant working as security officer. Within 2 years, Jerry applied for the police department in Mount Ayr, working for a year. Jerry transitioned into his next branch of service in the United States Army Reserves. He did his 16 years with the Reserves which included his 4 years in the Navy, giving him 20 years. In June 2013, Jerry applied for the Iowa Southern Trolley and was accepted. This gave Jerry so much enjoyment. His took his work seriously. Jerry enjoyed fishing when he found the time plus watching John Wayne movies. Many may recall his signature vests he wore as his everyday attire. Jerry will be deeply missed by so many.
Jerry passed away June 4, 2020. He was preceded in death by his parents; infant daughter Tamara Lynne; infant sister; and brother Dennis Dean Townsend.
He is survived by his wife Annette; children Adrianne Townsend (dear friend Dean Blades), Janine Beason, Randy (Susan) Townsend, and Trudy Clark; grandchildren Amanda Angus, Jeremy & Jerrod Mahaffey, Drew Fry, Raymond Townsend, Ryan Bohannan; brother Charles William (Retha) Townsend; other relatives and friends.
A memorial fund has been established in his name to be decided later.
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