03/10/1964 — 11/05/2010
13 years before, Jerry’s stage IV malignant melanoma diagnosis – he reluctantly had a suspicious mole removed from the back of his left calf. Jerry was a dedicated employee who didn’t want to ask for time off to have his mole checked but finally saw a doctor when I insisted. The dermatologist who saw Jerry first sent him directly to a plastic surgeon the same day to have the mole removed and biopsied. A few days later, the bad news came back that the mole was malignant. Tests were done and Jerry got a clean bill of health. We felt that he had “dodged a bullet” and put the matter behind us. Jerry did, however, attend all of his scheduled follow-up visits for the next 13 years as he understood the significance of his initial diagnosis. He was religious about making his appointments and asked questions about his health. He was clearly concerned about his original cancer diagnosis.
In early June of 2010, Jerry began to complain about a relentless pain in the back of his head. A month later an MRI showed a mass in the mastoid region of his skull base. Later that week, another large tumor was found in his pelvic region. That was when the word “cancer” was spoken.
Biopsies were done that week and a PET scan followed. The diagnosis of stage IV malignant melanoma was determined from those results. Jerry had tumors all throughout his body. There was hardly a place inside him that didn’t have tumors. It was too late by the time we found out he had cancer.
Less than 4 months later, on November 5, 2010, Jerry succomed to cancer. He left behind his wife and two precious sons.
Those 4 months were agonizing for Jerry and for his loving family. Melanoma is a very painful cancer and the medication that he had to take made him very sick. His sons spent 4 months watching their father deteriorate to a point of praying for his death just so he could escape the pain.
Jerry was a beloved employee of the Village of Seneca Falls. He coached youth lacrosse for 18 years and coordinated the program for almost as many. He is missed greatly by all who knew him.
Better treatments are absolutely necessary for melanoma. Although Jerry had been accepted into a clinicial study at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, he had to return home for 2 weeks to wait for the washout period of his last radiation treatments. Jerry died before he could return to Tennessee for what he considered his “miracle drug.”
Jerry’s wish to see his oldest son graduate on June 24, 2011 was not realized. Nor did he attend his youngest son, Phillip’s, middle school graduation on June 23.
Jerry was only 46 years old at the time of his death.
Always loved. Never forgotten.