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Gerard R. Case Obituary

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Gerard R. Case

Ridgeland, MS

December 22, 1931 - December 21, 2020

Gerard R. Case Obituary

On Monday, 21 December 2020, on the eve of his 89th birthday, Gerard R. Case, of Brooklyn, New York (originally), passed away with the peace and grace befitting any good servant of God in the sanctuary of his final home in Jackson, Mississippi. Gerard, who always went by “Jerry,” was born 22 December 1931, in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, but spent most of his life on the opposite side of the Hudson in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey. In every sense, he was a ‘Brooklyn Boy’—frequenting Ebbets Field and rooting for “The Bums” (Brooklyn Dodgers) with his playmates. Jerry attended high school at Brooklyn’s School of Industrial Arts, to which he was promoted from public school because of his promise as an artist—illustrator. This was followed by night school at the Mechanics Institute in New York. Jerry served in the US Navy during the Korean War (1951-1955) aboard the net-layer USS Tunxis AN90. Proud of his service to God and country, he coauthored a book—Operation Borneo—about those soldiers who came before him in the last battle of World War II. After the war, Jerry enrolled as an art student at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn on the ‘GI Bill of Rights’ but left academics, just 12 hours shy of graduating, to care for his dying father. At the outset of his career, Jerry was an aspiring cartoonist, working briefly for Paramount as an animator, bringing to life characters like Betty Boop, Popeye, and Casper the Friendly Ghost. Through his brother Warren, he became a close, lifelong friend of noted cartoonist-animator Clifford Augustson (Terry Toons, Hanna Barbera). By profession, Jerry was a commercial artist and draftsman with several advertising agencies and art studios; his resume includes time under New York abstract artist Meyer Tannenbaum. To make ends meet, Jerry worked many years for his best friend Paul Borodin in the commercial cooling industry and was last employed with the Bergen County Dept of Public Works & Engineering in Hackensack, New Jersey. Jerry had many hobbies and passions (all related to historical studies), but the greatest of them all, for which he was most passionate, was paleontology. Although he had no formal training in the sciences, and never completed his academic training, the study of fossils was nonetheless his true calling. Jerry had an illustrious and prolific career in paleontology, having named 180 fossil genera and species in well over a hundred publications to his credit. His scientific discoveries were numerous and produced hundreds of publications beyond his personal authorship. As tribute to his discoveries, he has had at least a dozen species named in his honor and one genus. He had research and field associate affiliations with the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), the Field Museum of Natural History (FMNH), the Princeton Museum of Natural History, the University of Michigan Museum of Paleontology (UMMP), and, most recently, the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science in the state capital. His close friends and colleagues in vertebrate paleontological circles included Don Baird (Princeton), David Dunkle (Cleveland Museum of Natural History), Lev Nessov (Saint Petersburg University), Rainer Zangerl (FMNH), Bob Schaeffer (AMNH), Alexander Averianov (Academy of Science, Saint Petersburg), and prominent Soviet palaeoichthyologist Leonid Glikman. In 1992, Jerry received the highest honor for an avocational paleontologist—the Paleontological Society’s Harrel L. Strimple Award. Although never professionally employed as vertebrate paleontologist, Jerry’s contributions to the field are enviable for a professional, let alone an ‘amateur.’ To that end, in August of this year, Jerry received a lifetime achievement award from his much beloved alma mater—Pratt Institute. This event was followed earlier this month, a week prior to his passing, by Pratt presenting its accomplished alumnus with yet another high honor—a Doctor of Liberal Arts (Honoris Causa)—for his contributions to the arts and sciences. Jerry was preceded in death by his father, James Sanford Case (1883-1959) and mother, Adele Elizabeth Harris Case (1891-1975), his older brothers Jim, Warren, and Norman, and his dear little sister Shirley. Jerry is survived by his niece (Shirley’s daughter) Eileen Perrin of Des Moines, Iowa, and her brother Mike Wagner, as well as Sherry Perrin of Austin, Texas—widow of his nephew Robert. Jerry is further survived by numerous friends, colleagues, and acquaintances—collectively his extended family. Paul Borodin of Little River, South Carolina, was his lifelong friend, with whom he collected fossils from the East Coast to the Great Plains. Unfulfilled with his 2010 move from New Jersey to South Carolina, Jerry sought refuge, need, and belonging in Mississippi—a research ‘stomping ground’ in the 1980s and 1990s. There he was welcomed by a community of people that made him happy—almost beyond contentment—until the day he died. A funeral service will be held on Tuesday, 29 December 2020, graveside at Lakewood Memorial Park South on McCluer Rd. in Jackson at 11:00 AM. Afterwards, family and friends will celebrate the life and mourn the passing of Dr. Case at 1518 Winchester Street in northeast Jackson (39211).

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Event information can be found on the Official Obituary of Gerard R. Case.