Jerome S. “Jerry” DeLong, 89, of Heather Drive in Roanoke, Virginia, passed away on Wednesday, March 17, 2021, following a brief illness.
He was born May 30, 1931 in Jamestown, New York, the son of the late Stuart G. DeLong and Helen Horan DeLong.
Jerry graduated from Jamestown High School in 1950. During his high school years, he was a member of the JHS football and basketball teams. He was especially proud to be a part of the 1950 league championship basketball team. His lifelong bond and friendship with his teammates was something that brought him great joy. Following his graduation, he served in the United States Air Force in both the U.S. and England until his discharge in 1954.
While he was stationed in London, Jerry played football for the USAF Military Team, The London Rockets. The highlight of his military football career was catching a touchdown pass during a championship game played in 1952 at Wembley Stadium. Upon his discharge from the Air Force, he attended college at Springfield University in Springfield, M.A.
Jerry married Shirley Sundeen on Nov. 19, 1955 at SS Peter and Paul Church in Jamestown. At the time of her passing on June 24, 2013, they had celebrated nearly 59 years of marriage. Until her illness prevented it, they enjoyed traveling and always returned “home” to Jamestown each summer. Jerry loved seeing old friends when he was home and started making calls as soon as he arrived to begin catching up. He was so looking forward to his 90th birthday celebration which was to be held in Jamestown this summer.
Jerry was a 1962 graduate of the New York State Police Academy and was stationed at the Falconer barracks. While he held several jobs during his life, including Prudential, Dahlstrom, The Fastener House, and the Chautauqua Lake Association in Jamestown, Florida and Texas, Jerry’s passion was always law enforcement. When he and his family moved to Roanoke, V.A. in 1980 he joined the Roanoke County Sheriff’s Department and was a Deputy at the Roanoke County Jail in Salem, Virginia for the remainder of his career. He was known as “Coach” by the jail staff and inmates.
Jerry was an avid boater and hunter. He loved spending time with his family on Chautauqua Lake. Over the years, he was the proud owner of two Chris Craft Sea Skiffs which he named FUZZ 1 and FUZZ 2. Many happy memories were made on the lake and at the Vikings Lake Park. Jerry enjoyed hunting turkey and deer for most of his life, last hunting turkey with his son when he was 83. He was a Midget Football Coach for many years with both the West and North Side teams. He was a voracious reader and a fabulous cook. His specialties included soups, Southern Banana Pudding, pies and Swedish rye bread.
He was a great storyteller and loved jokes. Jerry never met anyone who didn’t soon become a friend. His winning smile, gentle kindness and wonderful sense of humor will be how we remember him. His family is so grateful to all of his friends and ours who have helped him, checked on him and kept him laughing.
In addition to his beloved wife, Shirley, and his parents, Jerry was preceded in death by two brothers, Jack DeLong and James DeLong, and a sister, Margaret Kennebeck.
He is survived by four children, Sue Benson (Tom) of Jamestown, New York, Gregg DeLong of West Bloomfield, New York, Tim (Julie) DeLong of Peyton, Colorado, and Stephanie (Brian) Boush of Salem, Virginia; eight grandchildren, Amy (Keith) Mait of Chicago, Illinois, Megan (Justin) Goldberg of Savannah, Georgia, Katie (Chris) Kozlowski of Williamsville, New York, Amber (Adam) Colberg of Prosper, Texas, Cody DeLong and Madison DeLong of Jamestown, New York, and Jake and Ethan Boush of Salem, Virginia. He is also survived by eight great-grandchildren, Alex and Hudson Mait, Bertie and Aksel Goldberg, Benson Kozlowski, and Teagan, Kierstan, and Ceasan Colberg; as well as several loving nieces and nephews.
Due to COVID-19, there are no services planned at this time. A memorial service will be held in Jamestown, New York at a future date. Memorials may be made to CAP (Child Advocacy Program of Chautauqua County), 405 West Third Street, Jamestown, NY 14701, which benefits children who are victims of abuse, or to the Robert Benson Memorial Fund (benefitting Little League Baseball and Midget Football in Jamestown) at The Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, 418 Spring Street, Jamestown, N.Y. 14701.
Funeral arrangements were under the direction of Oakey’s Funeral Service – South Chapel, Cave Spring, Roanoke, V.A., (540) 989-3131. Online condolences may be shared with the family by visiting www.oakeys.com.