Jerry D. Hart
April 01, 1949 ‒ May 21, 2009
With his mischievous grin and ornery nature, it was befitting that on April Fools Day of 1949, Jerry D. Hart was born. A “prankster at heart,” stories about his many gages and horseplay could be told for hours by those who knew and loved him. Telemarketers especially did not want to make the mistake of calling Jerry’s house.
Having fought the good fight till the end, Jerry passed away and went to be with Lord early Thursday morning after a courageous three and a half year battle with cancer.
The son of Eileen (Blayney) Hart of Mount Gilead, and the late James E. Hart, who preceded him in death on March 14, 2000, Jerry was raised in Mount Gilead and graduated from Mount Gilead High School in the Class of 1967. He resided there until 1981 when he moved nearby to Fredericktown.
Shortly following his graduation from high school, Jerry enlisted to be a U.S. Marine to support his fellow countryman during the Vietnam War. His tour of duty took him to Vietnam, where he earned the rank of Lance Corporeal and undertook the dangerous task of clearing the way for helicopter landings.
Upon his honorable discharge, Jerry knew he wanted to join a profession that pursued justice and he started by studying at North Central State College, receiving an associates degree in Criminology in 1973. Later, he studied at Eastern Kentucky University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement.
For many years, Jerry built his resume and work experience through several jobs, one of which was serving as a mediator for youth in the Morrow County Prosecutors Office. Then in 1987, he went to work for himself as a private investigator, starting the Hart and Associates practice from his home. Very dedicated to his work, Jerry took pride in and enjoyed doing “whatever” was necessary to get information for his clients. He was able to continue his work up until his last few weeks.
Having met his wife to be, Vonnetta Moore, through mutual friends in Morrow County, they would soon thereafter be married on October 1, 1983, at the First Baptist Church where he had been a lifelong member and a member of the deacons committee. Together they have shared nearly twenty six wonderful years of marriage.
A proud father, making time out of his busy schedule for his daughter, Jennifer, was a priority for Jerry. “He was her biggest fan,” never missing anything she was a part of.
With a love for the outdoors, Jerry had a fondness for all animals and he had his own little animal farm at his home. He and Vonnetta have countless cats, dogs and birds they enjoyed caring for. While Jennifer was in high school, he especially enjoyed caring for her horse and participating with her in her 4-H events.
During his years in college, Jerry began learning the art of karate, and he would eventually earn a first degree black belt. For several years he also taught karate locally.
A family man, Jerry will forever be remembered for his love of his entire family, even his nieces and nephews. They will miss him for his kind heart, sense of humor, and willingness to help others.
Jerry will be dearly missed by his wife, Vonnetta Hart of Fredericktown; daughter, Jennifer Hart of Fredericktown; mother, Eileen Hart of Mount Gilead; brother, Steve (Kathy) Hart of Mount Gilead, and their children: Trisha Hart of Virginia, and Stefanie Hart of Mount Gilead; and a sister, Rita (Brad) Wood of Mount Gilead, and their children: Chris (Alesha) Wood of Columbus, and their daughter, Asha, Phillip (Kylie) Wood of Detroit, and their daughter, Aubrey, and Kelli (Rob) Harman of Chicago, and their son, Brett; and many special friends.
The Hart family will greet friends from 2 – 4 and 6 – 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 23, at the Snyder Funeral Home, Craven Chapel, 67 N. Main St., Mount Gilead. Services celebrating his life will be held on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church, 51 W. High St., Mount Gilead, with Rev. Joshua Melvin and Dr. Lucian Baker officiating. Inurnment with military honors will be held on Tuesday, May 26, at 3:00 p.m. at Forest Cemetery in Fredericktown.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Life Raft Group, 40 Galesi Dr., Wayne, NJ 07470. The purpose of this group is to support research for the type of cancer Jerry was afflicted by, a gastrointestinal stromal tumor (Gist) which is a very rare cancer affecting the digestive system. There is research that supports that the chemical Agent Orange, which was used during the Vietnam War, can cause this type of cancer. You can learn more information about this group at www.liferaftgroup.org.
Those who are unable to attend Jerry’s services are encouraged to express their condolences online by visiting www.snyderfuneralhomes.com.