Jerry T. Wertz, 69, passed away Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2007, at his home in Bay View. In an ironic twist, the man known for his culinary skills and love of food died on Fat Tuesday, finally succumbing to the cancer that had ravaged his digestive system.
A quiet man with a strong liberal voice, Jerry was active in the Erie County Democratic Party, a member of Voices for Peace and Justice and founder of the Erie County Chapter of Healthcare for All Ohioans. He was proud of his work as an ombudsman at the Ohio Veterans Home and was concerned about finding someone to assume his duties to assure the residents’ needs are served.
A skilled architectural specialist for 30 years, his craftsmanship adorns many homes in the area. Born in Toledo, he and his family lived across the U.S. but returned to this area 12 years ago. He was educated at Dennison University, Ohio University and University of Toledo.
He served in the Army Reserve but shared Benjamin Franklin’s view, “There never was a good war or a bad peace.”
His activism and patriotism will be sorely missed by the community and his absence heartbreaking for his friends and family, including his wife of almost 50 years, Sherry; daughter, Jennifer and her partner Tom Koba of Berlin Heights; surrogate grandchildren, Noca Gaines of Bay View, Michael and Liz Koba of Norwalk, and Tom, Karen, Andrew and Jacob Koba of Huron; brother, James Wertz of Hephzibah, Ga.; nephews, Chuck and Bob Wertz; nieces, Ann Brannaman and Mary Lanning; and 10 grand-nieces and nephews, all from the Columbus area; as well as an extended chosen family.
Jerry saw the best in everyone and respected all regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, education or wealth. He firmly believed in the power of the individual. As Helen Keller said, “The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.” Jerry would add, “Let’s all push together.”
Friends are invited to attend a wake in his honor from 3-10 p.m. on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, at his home at 104 E. Delaware Trail, Bay View. His ashes will later be scattered this spring in his beloved garden.
Memorial contributions may be given to Back to the Wild, P.O. Box 423, Castalia, OH 44824.