Jerry was born August 23, 1936 in Kilgore, Texas, to Mary and M.L. Sechrist. It was there, under Mary and Merle's watchful guidance, that Jerry learned the values of faith, education and service to others that would shape the remaining days of his life. These values were reinforced through his membership at First Presbyterian Church.
After graduating from Kilgore High School in 1954, Jerry went on to graduate from Stephen F. Austin College with an education degree in English. After honorably completing his National Guard service, he returned to complete two master's degrees; the first in library science and audio visual study at East Texas State College, Commerce, and later in foreign language studies at Indiana University.
Jerry began his professional career as a teacher in the Department of Defense Education System (DODES) in Okinawa and Ft. Zama, Japan. He also taught in Texas schools at Port Arthur, Vidor and Lake Worth. While at Lake Worth, Jerry was accepted back into DODES and left for Germany where he was the librarian for high schools in Augsburg, Heidelberg, and Bonn, and later Catania, Sicily. After almost 30 years of living in Europe and Japan he was fluent in the German, Italian, and Japanese languages.
Outside of teaching, Jerry's greatest passion was traveling. His goal while in Europe was to travel to see the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World; he accomplished six of those. After retirement Jerry continued to explore the world by traveling to Machu Picchu and later to Easter Island and the Galápagos Islands. He returned home of course with many souvenirs, chief among them a cadre of friends who enriched his life greatly.
After retiring from DODES Jerry moved back to Fort Worth, Texas where he resided for 19 years. There he became a faithful member of the downtown First Christian Church where he volunteered as a Sunday school teacher, helped with reorganizing their library and served the hungry and homeless. He also volunteered at the Salvation Army, the Lighthouse for the Blind and for the Fort Worth Visitors Center by working at the city's Convention Center, the Fort Worth Stock Show, and the Stockyards. He loved to entertain visitors of all ages and nationalities with his Texas drawl, only to surprise and charm foreign visitors by conversing in their home language...if it happened to be German, Italian, or Japanese!
He had a wonderful sense of humor and enjoyed a clever use of language and a witty limerick. One of his favorite sayings was: How do you spell love'? T-I-M-E. Jerry took those words to heart and lived by them.
Jerry was preceded in death by his mother and father. He is survived by his brother Larry Z. Sechrist and wife Charlotte, and their sons Marc Sechrist and wife Anna and Jeff Sechrist and wife Niceleine, all of Kilgore; brother Mike L. Sechrist and wife Susan of Kilgore and their daughters Lilly Sechrist of Los Angeles, Leigh-Ann Sechrist of Seoul, Korea, Joan and Daniel Maxwell of Seattle, and Kitt Sechrist of Ft. Worth. He is also survived by a host of friends from around the world. If you were Jerry's friend, you knew it.
Memorial services for Jerry Sechrist will be held Sunday, Jan. 26, at First Christian Church in Fort Worth, at 2 pm. A second gathering of family and friends will be held at the old Kilgore Post Office on Feb. 1 at 2 pm. Remembrances may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Jerry's favorite charity.
Jerry never let anyone take him to the airport and was never one for long goodbyes. So in that spirit, dearest friend and brother, Until we meet again!