Jerry was born on May 23, 1958 to James H. Desmond and Phyllis (Maynard) Desmond in Weymouth, Mass. Since the age of 5 he has lived in Stonington. Jerry, predeceased by his parents, credited them with his strong work ethic. They modeled that everyone has an obligation to help others and to give everything you do your full and complete effort, he lived up to that until the end.
A product of Stonington Public Schools, he served these schools for decades after graduating as a substitute teacher and tutor. He excelled on the playing fields and then made the sport possible for those who followed him.
As a police officer, he protected the streets of Stonington for 35 years, his proudest moments being the captain of the department for 17 years.
A graduate in education at Southern Connecticut State University, due to a lack of teaching positions after graduation, he became a police officer as well as an assistant football coach and assistant track coach at his alma mater and head coach of the women’s gymnastics team for the same beloved Bears, whom he has continued to coach to this day.
Working with young people has been one of the most rewarding parts of his career. A highlight being the 1991 SHS State Championship football team. Described as a season of a lifetime with friend Bob Mitchell. He especially enjoyed his time as the Stonington Youth Officer.
Jerry graduated from the FBI Training Academy at Quantico and received his Masters in Homeland Security Leadership from the University of Connecticut and went on to teach the same as an adjunct professor at Mitchell College.
After retiring from the police service, he began a new career at the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection as a boating safety and education representative, continuing his great love of the ‘education. He also served on the Presidents Council-Mystic Aquarium.
His heart and soul have always been with the town of Stonington. He has won numerous awards and citations over the years because of his passion and fervor in everything he has done. Most recently, he was inducted into the Stonington High School Athletic Hall of Fame, named CHSCA Assistant Coach of the Year for Gymnastics and named National Educator of the Year 2021 by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators. There are literally thousands of people, especially children, in Stonington and beyond who have been enriched by his mentorship and generosity. He uplifted everyone he met and was able to brighten up a day just by showing up. Truly a life well lived.
Jerry had an infectious laugh and a sharp wit and was always upbeat, with a positive outlook on life. He was a fighter until the bitter end.
Besides his wife, he is survived by his sister, Patricia Sauer (Vincent); brother, Walter (Karen) Petters; her stepchildren, Kathryn Jennings (Seth Pennington) and Kyle Jennings (Stephanie); and her six grandchildren, Landon, Cecily, Charlotte, Wyatt, Martélise and June, who loved their Bobo very much. He is also survived by his nieces, Jessica Vanhorn (Elaine), Sharon Steffens (Philip) and their daughter Emily.
Jerry’s family will receive relatives and friends from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, January 2 at the Stonington High School Gymnasium, 176 South Broad Street, Pawcatuck. A service will be held at 11:30 am on Monday, January 3 at St. Michael’s Church, 60 Liberty Street, Pawcatuck. After his service, he will be buried in St. Michael’s Cemetery in Pawcatuck. Face masks are mandatory when entering high school on Sunday and Monday at church.
Special thanks to her dear friends, Tricia and Michael Barber and Dane Lewis, Dr Robert Legare, Rebecca Curioso RN, Dr Anne Chiang and all the Smilow staff at YNHH.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to one of its most cherished causes, The Stonington High School Athletic Boosters, 176 South Broad Street, Pawcatuck, CT.06379., The Westerly Hospital Foundation to benefit the Smilow Cancer Center of Westerly Hospital, 25 Wells Street, Westerly RI.02891., The Mystic Aquarium, 55 Coogan Blvd, Mystic, CT. 06355. or the American Cancer Society at www.cancer.org
Mystic Funeral Home takes care of Jerry’s arrangements.
Posted by The Day on December 30, 2021.