I Remember Jerry Wilhite

It is approaching midnight on Thursday, April 28, 2011 and it has been a week since my life-long friend Jerry Wilhite had a massive heart attack and passed away at his home. This is a poem written for his memory but really a tribute to life itself and to all of us who live it to the fullest. Each of us is precious in our own way and all of us have our day. Each of us will leave a legacy and for the living I say, concentrate on the positive and doing what is right by your fellow human beings. - Jerry Pippin

Music: Gentle the Night- John Searle  (ASCAP) ; It Was A Very Good Year (ASCAP) Russell Watson

In place of a guest book, we have decided to publish comments from readers and friends of Jerry Wilhite.  Send comments to jerrywilhite@jerrypippin.com  

CLICK HERE for our other Jerry Wilhite tribute page

O man!  Very sad news indeed.  I figured something was up with his health, but didn't want to intrude by asking.  Thanks for letting us know.  It's a great loss for all of us, but I know it's an even greater loss for you personally.  You two Jerrys have always had a big place in our hearts, and now you'll just have to carry on the cause for both of you!
Take care, George Mood

Jerry, I am sorry to hear about Wilhite.  You two were the perfect example of the value of a lifelong friendship.  The 1000’s of hours of sharing laughs, debates and adventures you had.


It was always my pleasure to be included in the adventures of the Jerry’s.  You both had a big impact on my life.  There are so many memories that flash through my mind when I think about our shared history.


One of the first memories is of our junior high school days.  Even in those days Jerry always felt he should enlighten us with his wisdom.  I can’t remember all the topics but I am sure the main one was how to get girls.  We had many adventures and a couple of misadventures I will never forget.  Remember the broken lamp in Wilhite’s house?   I was scared of Jerry’s mom and I caught hell for that one since I threw the basketball.  Butterfingers, I still think you should have caught the ball.  Or how about the Gard Boy fire when I started a grass fire that got out of hand across from the fire station.  You and Jerry got the blame because the firemen knew my dad and didn’t think the Gard Boy would do such a thing and he said that you two were a bad influence on me.  In all the years since then, Jerry would never miss an opportunity to give me a rough time for the Gard Boy fire and me being a bad influence on him.

We started going our separate way a little in high school as you guys pursued your interest in speech and debate, with a little bootlegging on the side, and I pursued my interest in Madeline.  My most vivid memories are of the summer job Jerry talked me into.  We were on a door to door magazine crew.  We would take the bus Sunday’s to OKC to meet up with Buck and the crew.  From there we would head out to some small town in Oklahoma or the Texas Panhandle.  It was quite the motley crew of kids, rich kids and poor kids, and good kids and troubled kids.  We didn’t make much money but we had a lot of fun and a few scraps we managed to survive with only minor damage.  As a sign of things to come, Jerry, with his gift of gab was a superstar salesman.


After high school Jerry and I shared an apartment in Tahlequah with Dave Gadd while we went to Northeastern.  We all had a good time despite some near death experiences on Thunderbird Wine.  After that you guys decided to join the army and I got a job with the railroad. 


I guess I expected that since we were taking separate paths our friendship would be just a fond memory of my youth.  But then in the early 70’s we all ended up in LA.  I was going through a divorce so it was a rough time for me.  But both of you were really there for me and helped me move on to a happier life.  As you know Jerry introduced me to Loretta, my second wife.  Loretta has also passed away, but I look back on our life together with fond memories realizing how much we helped each other through rough times.


This is just a small sample of memories of Jerry.  I could fill a book with memories of those early days but I bet you could write a better one.  Jerry will be missed and never forgotten.  He had a great brain and he knew how to communicate both verbally and in writing.  He didn’t miss much, because he wasn’t afraid to live his life with gusto.  Not a bad way to go.


Your Friend, Don Gard 

Jerry, It is a sorrowful time when you lose a lifelong friend. Wilhite was a passionate and kind man. I will always remember his written political commentaries from the Bush/Cheney years – serious issues discussed with great humor. That collection is priceless. My deepest condolences to you, and to Wilhite, RIP. Larry Dicken , former partner in our web productions, now retired.    
Pippin and Wilhite !  What a pair --- and what a lovely column!  Rita is right -- "all of us can hope that our dearest friend would write such a beautiful tribute for us...." Thanks to Pippin for eulogizing his friend and our classmate Jerry Wilhite.  It seems so appropriate,
Best wishes, Rennard Strickland
I've known the duo of Pippin and Wilhite, or Wilhite and Pippin, since 7th grade.  Always together.  Always fun.  It is with a deep sense of loss that I read about Wilhite's untimely death.
I have so many good memories over the decades, from our speech trips to our poker playing at Northeastern.
I knew Wilhite was quite ill, but he didn't complain.  He was a caring and thoughtful person, full of fun, and so very decent.  He made the world a better place, so what more can one ask of one's life?
Please send us the information regarding donations in his memory, services, etc.  I shall miss him, perhaps not as much as the remaining half of the duo, but miss him nonetheless. 
Wilhite & I didn't know each other in high school so I don't have stories from olden times but several years ago I started working with Jerry Pippin on his websites, for which Wilhite wrote frequent columns.  Wilhite and I might have exchanged a few emails before I was sidelined with a lengthy illness but I'm not even sure of that.  One day he emailed my daughter his phone number along with the message to "call if I wanted to talk," which was not only a very dear thing to do but also a very brave one since for all he knew I was a pathological talker from whom escape would be impossible.  I'm not a talker but I did take him up on his offer and I'm still grateful for his act of kindness. 
I'm honored to have met him when I did and judging by the outpouring of heart-felt tributes from so many people, we all feel the same. 
Godspeed JW, we genuinely miss you.
Jane Swartley
Jerry....I do not have the words to express my feeling learning of the passing of Wilhite.  I always really liked him , as well as you.  I counted him as a childhood friend, to me real friends are the people you grow up with, after that I consider most other people I encounter as acquaintances.  As you know, even though we don't agree on everything, my friendship is true and loyal to the end.
You and Jerry were like brothers, where you saw one you saw the other.   Wilhite had a lot of the same beliefs and opinions as I have, as we would talk it
became more clear.   He will be missed by all that knew and loved him, I feel especially sad for your loss. But my friend, you know we are all going to pass, if we want to or not.  You and I have beat the Vegas odds , we have out lived so many of our classmates, family, and friends.   Hang in there brother  as long as you can, Diamond Dayne
Thanks to Carl Thompson for most of the photographs on this page.
Page created by Jane Swartley for two of her favorite people, Jerry Pippin & Jerry Wilhite
Jerry Wilhite loved Honor Heights Park and growing up we had some wonderful times there. Click here for a look at the Park in the Autumn, very inspiring video put together by Roberta Scott for us.
Windows Media Video 
IPODTVmov Quicktime

 I was so sorry to hear about Jerry.  Please tell his family I'm praying for them.   Shirley Admire Walters

Jerry Wilhite....One of my favorites...he and Jerry Pippin...always smiling; always ready for fun.  No matter how long it was since I last saw him, the next time was like there had been no time elapsed at all.  Jerry Wilhite never changed.  He was always the same young man I met in Mr. Gregory's speech class at Alice Robertson Jr. Hi.  Some of my fondest memories of Jr. Hi days included Jerry Wilhite.  I will treasure those memories.  Dona Johnson Lusk
Jerry was such a class act. As I prepare for Easter services at our little church I am saddened with this news because it brings to mind how precious our life here is. I know that belief in an eternal life is comforting, but our growing up times in Muskogee are still packed with meaning & cherished memories. Jerry had a real way with words & such a vitality of life that could infect anyone. His smile was priceless. To all my classmates I wish a blessed Easter & joyous springtime. Blessings, Tommy Jobe.
Dear Jerry, What a beautiful tribute you wrote to your best friend, I will always remember the two of you as Pippin and Wilhite. I considered both of you as best friends in high school. All of the class of ’58 should be so lucky at this stage of our life to have had such a wonderful, steadfast friend. Both of you enriched our lives in high school more than you know.
Much love and sympathy to you at this time.
 Micki Jo Farmer Van Deventer

Jerry, all of us can hope that our dearest friend would write such a beautiful tribute for us when we die.  Please let me know about services for Jerry, and I'll send that out as well.  This is sad news for all.  It seems that our classmates grow dearer as the years pass. This is a sad day for the Class of '58.  Rita

There was a reason for our being together constantly in high school, he had a car and I didn't (grin)
Jerry and Jerry have a special place in my life. Do you remember the big rainstorm during our Junior (I believe) Prom?  The prom was on the westside and my date was from the westside.  The storm made many streets impassable.  Several fathers arrived with trucks and took the westsiders home and others took the eastsiders home.  I was in a truck with Jerry and Jerry and possibly others.  The truck let us out at the shopping center on East Side Boulevard and ???.  I lived in Riverside, so the boys offered to walk me to my grandmother's house on Houston Street.  As you can imagine, we were soaked, my gown weighed a "ton", but we made it.  Thanks to two very special men.  Janet Pugh Gesin
I'm really sorry, cause Jerry was a sweet guy and a swell guy I enjoyed Latin class, not because of the class work but because of you and Jerry.  You both made it bearable, even if you were on the opposite side of the room. Judy Wolfe Stephens

Jerry, I am so sorry about the death of your good friend, Jerry Wilhite. I loved the whole tribute you wrote about him on your website.  I know it has left a hole in your heart for his friendship.  He's always been there - always able to reach out to him and now he is gone....  I remember him being in Houston and sick then.  He had a long life..he's not in pain and at peace.  Best wishes to you.  love, Charlene
My heart goes out to Jerry, his family and friends. 
Arthur Neumann - (re: henry deacon)
  • Dave Pierce -  Jerry, I am sorry to hear of your friend's death. I am always available to listen if you are ever feeling a need to talk about Jerry, and his life and death. I will read the tribute now. -Dave
  • Leslie Applegate -  A very beautiful tribute! I'll keep you in my prayers.
  • Mikey Groom Ragan - So sorry for your loss. What a lovely tribute!
  • Ikuomola Adewale Jerry, sorry for that sad event. Such is life. There is time to born, and time to die. No one knows when his turn will reach, since every one will surely die one day. Hence, the need for us to be more closer to God our Creator.
  • Bill H. Burt Sorry for your loss Jerry.
  • Lisa Massey Daddy, so sorry about this. I read your tribute and it is very nice. I know how close you guys were. I love you very much.
  • Louise Rose Aveni So sorry to hear of your loss, Jerry. Friends are non-genetic family, sometimes better and having one leave our lives is sad, indeed. But NOW you have an ANGEL watching over you who knows ALL your secrets. Love and light, my friend.
  • Phil Mancuso Am sorry to hear that, Jerry. My condolences.
  • Sacha Christie:( Hugs Jerry xxxx
  • Leslie Mitts Wow...so sorry to hear of Jerry's passing. ((( )))
  • Angelia Joiner Sorry for your loss.
  • Larry Lowe Condolences, Jerry.
  • Dennis Rano My condolences also.
  • Talk To Cheryl So sad ....Friends to the end !.....The end isn't over, you will be meeting up with him later....In a much better place....Sorry for your loss......
  • David Baker Sorry to hear about your Buddy Jerry. Life is not so kind these days to a lot of us.
  • Sharon Rockwell-Ruffin Wow you are so loved Jerry. You have a beautiful soul and such a wonderful friend. So sorry Jerry for your loss. Bless you my friend.
  • S. Linda Jensen Very sorry to hear about Jerry Wilhite, I know you miss him.
  • Jan Dowell Deepest sympathy for your loss of a special friend. I'm very sorry.
  • Anne Layman Sorry for your loss in your friend and my classmate... so pleased that I was able to hear it. Friends till the end. God Bless."
  • Chris Newman So sorry to read this Jerry thoughts are with you.
  • Kelly Boyd I'm sad for your loss Jerry
  • Laura Cooke Sorry for your loss...
  • Linda Boggs Perry : I am so sorry to hear about Jerry. He will be missed by everyone that remembers him. It always seemed to be Jerry and Jerry. Anytime I thought of one, I thought of the other. I know everyone in our class will grieve for him.
  • Roxy Lopez Bless you Jerry, and your friend who is now on the other side. I know the feeling.