Gerald Ray “Jerry” Stephens, 72, of Danville passed away at IU/Methodist Hospital on September 10, 2021.
Jerry was the youngest of 3 children born to the late James and Bonnie (Davis) Stephens on July 21, 1949 in Indianapolis at Methodist Hospital.
Jerry grew up near downtown Indianapolis. He lived with his family in the Fountain Square area. They lived in a house on the corner of Senate and Wilkins that is no longer there due to it being taken down when the highway came through. As a kid, times were so different back then and so often after supper Jerry’s dad would often send him out in the dark to Williams Market to get milk. Jerry just knew that his nemesis Frankenstein was out there. The Friday 11 o’clock siren meant cheeseburgers and a Pepsi. He would go home for lunch from school and that is what his mom had waiting for him. Even in his older years when the siren went off at 11, he would say “cheeseburgers!” Jerry didn’t start school until 1st grade because his mom didn’t drive and there was no transportation to school in kindergarten for him. He always felt behind in 1st grade but of course caught up. He attended School 39 Indianapolis grade school. Jerry thought he was so cool as he was picked to be one of the “traffic boys” and even was made Captain! This job allowed him certain privileges…one time Mr. Locker called all the traffic boys to his room for a “meeting” which turned out to really be an excuse to watch the World Series baseball game on a little tv in Mr. Locker’s room in the basement of the school. This just reinforced Jerry’s love of baseball! Jerry loved sports and could still tell you statistics of baseball players from his childhood. In his youth, he would write out all the information on a big piece of cardboard and memorize it all. Jerry attended Franklin Central High School and graduated in 1967.He then went on to get his college education at David Lipscomb College in Nashville TN graduating in 1971. Jerry earned 4 teaching licenses: Science, history, math and English with the last two being his primary teaching experiences. Later on, he went back to school to get his Masters Degree. Teaching was his passion, whether it was at church or at school. He was always comfortable in front of a group of students or adults. He loved to talk and he loved to tell stories. Everyone loved to hear his stories. He was a natural born teacher. He began his teaching career in Franklin Township in 1971 at Acton,In .He taught 5th and 6th grade for 5 years.
He taught math to the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades for 3 years. While he was teaching in Acton, the yearly test scores went up so much that the superintendent came to find out what Jerry was doing to help the kids improve their scores. He told him, “just the basics over & over again until they get it.” Jerry taught at Indianapolis Christian for 2 years. He began teaching in Wayne Township in 1986. Taught at Ben Davis Junior High School in the Alternative to Expulsion Classroom for 5 years. In 1991, Jerry moved to the position of Department Chair of the alternative school based at Jameson Camp. In 1995, he moved to South Wayne Junior High where he taught English. He became the became the English Department Chair in 1996.Jerry retired in May of 2007.During his teaching career, Jerry was a cross country coach and a football coach. He was a beloved mentor to several new teachers. Jerry’s love of books, nurtured by his sister Linda, influenced him to be an English teacher. Linda introduced her younger brother to the magic of the library. One of his favorite books was To Kill A Mockingbird. He was always taking up for the misunderstood and standing up for what was right. Jerry honored God in all he did, whether it was teaching school, teaching a Bible class, or handing out frozen treats to the neighborhood kids. Jerry was one of the sweetest, kindest souls on this earth. He loved to give to others and gave with a glad and generous heart. He loved sitting on the front porch swing visiting with friends or chatting with people passing by. The kindness and joy he brought to others will not be forgotten. He had a very humble spirit. Jerry’s love language was feeding people. The grandkids, their friends, and neighbor kids fondly remember his famous Sponge Bob eggs! They all said he made the best chocolate milk and the very best chocolate malts! He was the funniest guy ever. He made us all laugh and he wasn’t afraid to look silly doing it. When one of his granddaughters asked him why he was so silly he responded, “ it’s so you’ll remember me when I’m gone.” Jerry was a faithful member of the Heartland Church of Christ, Greenwood IN. He loved Sundays because that meant it was time to go to church and worship God and fellowship with other Christians. Jerry taught many Bible classes; middle school, high school, and adults. In October 2018, Jerry had open heart surgery at Methodist Hospital, giving him 3 more years with family and friends. “The heart that serves and loves and clings, Hears everywhere the rush of angel wings.”
Jerry was preceded in death by his parents, James and Bonnie (Davis) Stephens. He was also preceded in death by his older sister Linda and an older brother who died in infancy.
Jerry is survived by his wife, Debbie (Montgomery) Stephens; daughter Stacy Hubner, step children (he hated that term as he considered them all his kids) Laura (Anthony) Bell; Beth (Jon) Mitchell; Jeremy (Kinsey) West. He leaves behind his beloved 8 grandchildren. Caden Hubner; Cassidy Hubner; Kaylee Bell; Easton Bell; Katie Mitchell; Ashlynn Mitchell; Nathan West; and Calan West. Also surviving is former son-in-law John Hubner who checked in Jerry each day during his hospitalization and remained part of the family.
Celebration of Life Service for Jerry will be 2:00 p.m., Saturday, October 2, 2021 at Heartland Church of Christ, 1693 W. Main Street, Greenwood, Indiana 46142. The family will receive friends from 10:00 a.m. until the hour of service. Online condolences may be extended to the family by visiting www.singletonmortuary.com Arrangements by Singleton Community Mortuary and Memorial Center. In lieu of flowers please make donations to Heartland Church of Christ, 1693 W Main St, Greenwood, IN 46142
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