Jerry Joseph Mitcham passed quietly in his sleep Tuesday morning August 13th, 2019. After a lengthy illness, Daddy made it to his 78th birthday before joining his wife, Linda, in heaven so they could celebrate their 57th wedding anniversary together, which is also August 13.
Jerry was a self-made man that left home and joined the Navy at 16. He was proud to have served and treasured his time in the Navy as well as the opportunity to travel around the world for adventures that included a goat roping and seeing a one-legged man in a winning fight (his joke our entire life). Just before ending his service career he met Linda Alice Greene and after a whirlwind romance they eloped weeks later. The day after they married, Jerry took the exam to join the Statesville, NC Fire Department. His time as a fireman impacted and lead him to what became his life's calling, Law Enforcement. He began as a beat cop before transitioning to a detective role. He started a junior police scout program to help troubled young men on a better path for success. Jerry was extremely passionate about law enforcement and continuously strived to be a better police officer. He moved on to become police chief in Elon, NC. Jerry’s final police role was his ultimate challenge and source of pride. He started the first internal police department at Charlotte Douglas Airport.
Jerry left home at 16 and dropped out of school to join the Navy. He received his GED in the Navy and never stopped his education once he left. While working full time and supporting a wife and family, he received an Associates Degree from Mitchell Community College, a B.A. in Criminal Justice from Pfeiffer University, and a Masters in Criminal Justice from UNCC.
Jerry was an avid reader and wrote 3 books himself. He taught himself the art of woodturning and many people have been blessed by one of his beautiful creations. He was an accomplished gunsmith and made many extraordinary instruments as well as being an avid reloader. Dad's hobbies ran deep and wide. He was a zealous knife collector, guitar collector ( even though he couldn't play a lick), and his gardening knowledge is one of the greatest gifts he shared with his daughter. Additionally, he tumbled rocks and crafted beautiful pieces of jewelry.
He always loved fishing however during the last four years, living with John and Susan, he was able to reignite his passion with weekends spent on the lake with our adopted family Rose, Andrea, and Marty. As a family, being able to come home to North Carolina his only request was could we please live on the water. Forever his princess and the apple of his eye, Maddie, his first granddaughter found him his home on the water.
Being back in Charlotte the last two years he was able to build, if possible, an even stronger bond with his first grandson Mitch and his wife Erika. The ultimate gift of this bond was being the officiant at their wedding. The endless hours of fishing and conversations with Maddie and Tim somehow made their connections run deeper and love even stronger.
No words can convey what having Daddy live with John and Susan since the passing of Linda in 2015 has meant. Having the opportunity to have Jerry as a boating buddy, sous chef, fishing partner, tasting and toasting cohort, wisdom sharer, stupid jokester, travel partner, but most of all our best friend is one the greatest blessings one could ask for.
Jerry was proceeded in death by his loving wife Linda. He leaves behind his son Jerry and wife Alexandrina, his son Mark and his daughter Susan and husband John along with 14 amazing grandkids and step-grandkids.
Graveside Service is to be Friday August 16,2019
11:00 AM with Navy Honors at Sunset Memory Gardens