The True Measure of a Man

During a week when we remembered veterans and heroes like Col. David Hackworth (search), it'd be understandable if some of us forgot about Jerry.

Jerry died on Memorial Day (search).

Jerry wasn't famous, although in his neck of the Pennsylvania woods, he was very well liked.

He was a local public official in his younger days — before he retired and doodled around on things he loved: like antique auctions and mowing lawns. He attacked both with gusto.

He was a man of few words. But what he said, he meant. And, if he really didn't like a person, Jerry wouldn't say anything at all. Just like he wouldn't say anything about his hardships or about the kids he lost. Not a peep. He carried on.

Jerry was not a wealthy man. He was a big man, with a big heart, but one very big investment: the nearly a half-century he spent with his wife, Janet.

She was Ma. He was Pa. And now, Pa is gone.

I've met many giants in my business. But few touched me the way this plain-speaking Pennsylvanian, who loved to cut lawns and cut to the chase, did.

Jerry's gone now, like so many of the Great Generation. When medals on a chest meant something, but the kind, decent heart that beat beneath that chest, meant something more.

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