In Memory

Robert Jerry

Robert H. Jerry, 91, of Terre Haute, died Friday, September 12, 2014 in T.H. Regional Hospital. He was born July 25, 1923 in Brazil, IN to Floyd Jerry and Zetta Hoffman Jerry. 

After graduating from Brazil High School in 1941, Robert enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He saw combat in numerous South Pacific campaigns where he served on a destroyer as a fire controlman. He later served in the same capacity on a mine sweeper. After World War II ended, Robert, with the support of the GI Bill, earned his undergraduate degree at Indiana State Teachers College. His first teaching position was in Fowler, IN, where he taught sixth grade. He then taught middle school and high school (Delphi, IN), served as a high school principal (Covington, IN), and as a superintendent of schools (Worthington, IN) while he completed his doctoral work at Indiana University. He was known as a youthful innovator in public education; among his most notable initiatives was the implementation of academic letters at Covington High School, which received widespread attention in education circles. His subsequent appointment as a professor of education at Indiana State University and his service as Indiana’s Deputy State Superintendent of Public Instruction (Indianapolis, IN) from 1967 to 1970 means that Dr. Jerry may be the only person in the history of Indiana education to have served as a teacher at every level of public school, a principal, a superintendent, an administrator in the State Department of Public Instruction, and a college professor.


Dr. Jerry retired from teaching in 1984, but he and his spouse, fellow ISU Professor Dr. Marjorie C. Jerry, served as recruiters for the ISU School of Graduate Studies throughout the Midwest. As a result of his interest in comparative education and his keen interest in exploring history, geography, and culture, Dr. Jerry during his life traveled to every continent on the globe and often said that he was proud that he had slept in every state in the nation. His sense of humor, curiosity, and resilience, even in the face of recent health challenges, were an inspiration to all.

His greatest enjoyment, however, came through his devoted love and attention for his family and friends. Survivors include his wife, Janet Higgins-Jerry, whom he married November 18, 2010; a son, Robert H. Jerry II and his wife Lisa Nowak Jerry of Gainesville, FL; a daughter, E. Claire Jerry and her husband Glen Clatterbuck of Jacksonville, IL; step-sons, Michael Higgins and his wife Deborah, Mark Higgins and his wife Sally; step-daughter, Jennifer Overpeck and her husband Mark; five grandchildren, John Robert Jerry, David Jerry Clatterbuck , James Martin Jerry, Thomas Jerry Clatterbuck , and Elizabeth Catherine Jerry; five step-grandchildren, Landon Higgins, Valerie Higgins, Lauren Overpeck, Max Higgins, and Sam Higgins; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Marjorie Collings Jerry to whom he was married from 1950 until her death in 2008; his parents; a brother, Roy Maxwell Jerry; and a sister, Mildred Jerry Hawker.

Robert was a member of Central Christian Church, the Kiwanis, Friends of the Library, the Vigo County Historical Society, the Indiana Historical Society, and the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents where he was known for his work in public school law. He was a World War II Navy Veteran and was active in the Tin Can Sailors and the Naval Mine Warfare Association. Robert was a precious loving husband, father, grandfather, and friend. He touched many lives with his wit and genuine caring for others.

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 A.M. Tuesday, September 16, 2014 in Central Christian Church, 4950 Wabash Ave., with Reverend Rebecca Zelensky officiating. Private burial will be in Cottage Hill Cemetery in Brazil. Visitation will be from 4:00 – 7:00 P.M. Monday, September 15, 2014 in Callahan & Hughes Funeral Home, 605 S. 25th Street. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Robert H. and Marjorie C. Jerry Travel Scholarship Fund (an endowment they established to support international travel by ISU students for educational purposes), at the Indiana State University Foundation, 1 Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN 47809. Funeral information is also available at: