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Jerry Blaine Dickinson Obituary

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Jerry Blaine Dickinson

Story City, Iowa

June 22, 1939 - July 6, 2024

Jerry Blaine Dickinson Obituary

Jerry was born June 22, 1939, in a farmhouse north of Fairfield, IA, in Jefferson County, the son of John Blaine and Clara Blanche (Lovedy) Dickinson, and the youngest of four children.


He moved to Salina, IA, northeast of Fairfield, at about the age of 2 and lived there the rest of his childhood. He attended and graduated from elementary school in a one-room schoolhouse, Lockridge #3 at Salina. For the majority of the years there, the teacher was June Harder, who he credited with providing him with a strong educational background.

He attended Fairfield High School, graduating in 1957. While in high school, he wrestled two years and played football one year. During his years on the farm, he was a member of 4-H and FFA, showing various types of livestock in the county 4-H/FFA fair.


After graduating from FHS, he attended the University of Iowa (known then as the State University of Iowa, or SUI). He switched majors several times, although they were all in the journalism field, and graduated with a degree in photojournalism. During his final two years at Iowa, he worked at the student newspaper, the Daily Iowan, as a reporter and photographer, and also did some part-time work for United Press International and the Associated Press.

Having had a student deferment while at Iowa, he faced the strong possibility of being drafted into the Army or Marines immediately upon graduation. Although he enjoyed the outdoors as a youngster, he had an aversion to the possibility of living in a foxhole for the next two years. Therefore, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was accepted into Officer Candidate School in Newport, RI.


Upon graduating from OCS in Nov. 1961, he attended several U.S. Navy training schools and was then assigned to the USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2), an amphibious assault helicopter carrier homeported in San Diego, CA.

While doing a photo assignment about the Iowa City Community Theater in Dec. 1960, he met Wanda Lea Gillispie and they began dating. That was cut short after a few weeks when she moved back to Des Moines, but they maintained a correspondence-based relationship. They dated again when he was on leave between completion of OCS and reporting to the West Coast, and then resumed the letter writing (this was before the days of email). Wanda then moved to California to resume the personal relationship, and they were married Dec. 22, 1962, and Jerry took on the responsibility of a 10-year-old son, Kerry Deane Gillispie, as well as a wife.


While aboard the USS Iwo Jima, he spent some time in Hawaii and the Johnston Island area. The ship was used to house civilian workers from Johnston Island when they had to be removed from the island during high-altitude atomic tests.

In the fall of 1962, the Iwo Jima was on its way to the Western Pacific when it was called back to San Diego. Once back there, it loaded helicopters and combat Marines and with 20 other Pacific Coast-based ships, went through the Panama Canal in the Caribbean Ocean to become part of a Cuban invasion force if it was needed during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Fortunately, that was not needed and they ended up steaming in a square south of Puerto Rico for several weeks.

In April 1963, he was assigned to the staff of Commander, Amphibious Squadron 12, and during that tour of duty participated in deployments to the Mediterranean Ocean, Caribbean Sea and England.

One Oct. 6, 1964, Jerry and Wanda became the parents of twin girls, Tracey Jo and Tammy Lea. That was a major factor in his deciding to leave the U.S. Navy, and he took a job as a staff reporter/photographer with the Davenport Times-Democrat, which is now the Quad City Times. After one year there, he moved to the photo staff of that newspaper.

In Sept. 1966, he took a job as a reporter/photographer at the Denison Bulletin and Review. During his two years there, he moved up to managing editor.


Also during his time in Denison, he renewed his interest in local dirt track racing, and he helped on the car of one of the Denison race car drivers and provided news and photo coverage of races in Denison, Harlan and Alta while at the Bulletin and Review. He continued that interest when he moved to the Ames Tribune, providing news and photo coverage of races at the Boone Speedway, and doing public affairs for the Boone Speedway for a couple of years.

His move to the Ames Tribune was in Sept. 1968, and he was there for nine and one-half years as a photographer, reporter and news editor. Also while at the Ames Tribune, he was a regular contributor of news and photos to United Press and the Associated Press.


In May of 1978, he took the position as technical editor at the Iowa Department of Transportation in Ames, where he remained for 26 years. In addition to the technical editor position, he became the webmaster for the DOT, developing its first Internet site and managing it for nine and one-half years until his retirement in Aug. 2004.

On Easter Sunday, April 16, 2006, Jerry and Wanda filled the biggest void in their lives as they accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and the following Sunday, April 23, they were baptized at the Zearing Christian Church. They were both active in church affairs at Zearing, and Jerry continued that activity, serving as an Elder and chairman and vice chairman of the church board. However, to cut down the distance traveled for church activities after he moved to Ames, Jerry changed his membership to the Grand Avenue Baptist Church in Ames and was accepted into membership there April 9, 2017.

He retained interest in military organizations, serving as adjutant of the Roland Post 307 of the American Legion and then as a member of Ames Post 37 of the American Legion. He was also a member of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 1102, Story County, IA, and was vice president of that organization for several years.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife; two brothers, Tracey and Eugene; a sister, Joyce (Dickinson) Anderson Hudson; and a daughter, Tracey Bramble.


He is survived by his daughter, Tammy (Joe) Dickinson-Ferrell and son, Kerry Gillispie, all of Roland, IA; son-in-law Jeff Bramble, of Ankeny, IA; grandkids Julie (James) Erickson, of Richfield, MN, Maggie (Kain) Kutz, of Salt Lake City, UT, Christel (Jordan) Stuve, of Ankeny, IA, Ashley (Brandon) Twedt, of Plymouth, MN, and Paula (Jeremy) Caldwell, of Lincoln, NE; and many loving great-grandkids and grandpets.


A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 10, at Grand Avenue Baptist Church in Ames, IA. Jerry and Wanda will be reunited physically as well as spiritually as their cremains are interred together at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery in Van Meter, IA, at a later date.


In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Grand Avenue Baptist Church, Story County Animal Shelter or Wounded Warrior Project.



To share a memory or send a condolence gift, please visit the Official Obituary of Jerry Blaine Dickinson hosted by Adams Funeral Home & Cremation Service.

Jerry was born June 22, 1939, in a farmhouse north of Fairfield, IA, in Jefferson County, the son of John Blaine and Clara Blanche (Lovedy) Dickinson, and the youngest of four children.


He moved to Salina, IA, northeast of Fairfield, at about the age of 2 and lived there the rest of his childhood. He attended and graduated from elementary school in a one-room schoolhouse, Lockridge #3 at Salina. For the majority of the years there, the teacher was June Harder, who he credited with providing him with a strong educational background.

He attended Fairfield High School, graduating in 1957. While in high school, he wrestled two years and played football one year. During his years on the farm, he was a member of 4-H and FFA, showing various types of livestock in the county 4-H/FFA fair.


After graduating from FHS, he attended the University of Iowa (known then as the State University of Iowa, or SUI). He switched majors several times, although they were all in the journalism field, and graduated with a degree in photojournalism. During his final two years at Iowa, he worked at the student newspaper, the Daily Iowan, as a reporter and photographer, and also did some part-time work for United Press International and the Associated Press.

Having had a student deferment while at Iowa, he faced the strong possibility of being drafted into the Army or Marines immediately upon graduation. Although he enjoyed the outdoors as a youngster, he had an aversion to the possibility of living in a foxhole for the next two years. Therefore, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was accepted into Officer Candidate School in Newport, RI.


Upon graduating from OCS in Nov. 1961, he attended several U.S. Navy training schools and was then assigned to the USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2), an amphibious assault helicopter carrier homeported in San Diego, CA.

While doing a photo assignment about the Iowa City Community Theater in Dec. 1960, he met Wanda Lea Gillispie and they began dating. That was cut short after a few weeks when she moved back to Des Moines, but they maintained a correspondence-based relationship. They dated again when he was on leave between completion of OCS and reporting to the West Coast, and then resumed the letter writing (this was before the days of email). Wanda then moved to California to resume the personal relationship, and they were married Dec. 22, 1962, and Jerry took on the responsibility of a 10-year-old son, Kerry Deane Gillispie, as well as a wife.


While aboard the USS Iwo Jima, he spent some time in Hawaii and the Johnston Island area. The ship was used to house civilian workers from Johnston Island when they had to be removed from the island during high-altitude atomic tests.

In the fall of 1962, the Iwo Jima was on its way to the Western Pacific when it was called back to San Diego. Once back there, it loaded helicopters and combat Marines and with 20 other Pacific Coast-based ships, went through the Panama Canal in the Caribbean Ocean to become part of a Cuban invasion force if it was needed during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Fortunately, that was not needed and they ended up steaming in a square south of Puerto Rico for several weeks.

In April 1963, he was assigned to the staff of Commander, Amphibious Squadron 12, and during that tour of duty participated in deployments to the Mediterranean Ocean, Caribbean Sea and England.

One Oct. 6, 1964, Jerry and Wanda became the parents of twin girls, Tracey Jo and Tammy Lea. That was a major factor in his deciding to leave the U.S. Navy, and he took a job as a staff reporter/photographer with the Davenport Times-Democrat, which is now the Quad City Times. After one year there, he moved to the photo staff of that newspaper.

In Sept. 1966, he took a job as a reporter/photographer at the Denison Bulletin and Review. During his two years there, he moved up to managing editor.


Also during his time in Denison, he renewed his interest in local dirt track racing, and he helped on the car of one of the Denison race car drivers and provided news and photo coverage of races in Denison, Harlan and Alta while at the Bulletin and Review. He continued that interest when he moved to the Ames Tribune, providing news and photo coverage of races at the Boone Speedway, and doing public affairs for the Boone Speedway for a couple of years.

His move to the Ames Tribune was in Sept. 1968, and he was there for nine and one-half years as a photographer, reporter and news editor. Also while at the Ames Tribune, he was a regular contributor of news and photos to United Press and the Associated Press.


In May of 1978, he took the position as technical editor at the Iowa Department of Transportation in Ames, where he remained for 26 years. In addition to the technical editor position, he became the webmaster for the DOT, developing its first Internet site and managing it for nine and one-half years until his retirement in Aug. 2004.

On Easter Sunday, April 16, 2006, Jerry and Wanda filled the biggest void in their lives as they accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and the following Sunday, April 23, they were baptized at the Zearing Christian Church. They were both active in church affairs at Zearing, and Jerry continued that activity, serving as an Elder and chairman and vice chairman of the church board. However, to cut down the distance traveled for church activities after he moved to Ames, Jerry changed his membership to the Grand Avenue Baptist Church in Ames and was accepted into membership there April 9, 2017.

He retained interest in military organizations, serving as adjutant of the Roland Post 307 of the American Legion and then as a member of Ames Post 37 of the American Legion. He was also a member of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 1102, Story County, IA, and was vice president of that organization for several years.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife; two brothers, Tracey and Eugene; a sister, Joyce (Dickinson) Anderson Hudson; and a daughter, Tracey Bramble.


He is survived by his daughter, Tammy (Joe) Dickinson-Ferrell and son, Kerry Gillispie, all of Roland, IA; son-in-law Jeff Bramble, of Ankeny, IA; grandkids Julie (James) Erickson, of Richfield, MN, Maggie (Kain) Kutz, of Salt Lake City, UT, Christel (Jordan) Stuve, of Ankeny, IA, Ashley (Brandon) Twedt, of Plymouth, MN, and Paula (Jeremy) Caldwell, of Lincoln, NE; and many loving great-grandkids and grandpets.


A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 10, at Grand Avenue Baptist Church in Ames, IA. Jerry and Wanda will be reunited physically as well as spiritually as their cremains are interred together at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery in Van Meter, IA, at a later date.


In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Grand Avenue Baptist Church, Story County Animal Shelter or Wounded Warrior Project.



To share a memory or send a condolence gift, please visit the Official Obituary of Jerry Blaine Dickinson hosted by Adams Funeral Home & Cremation Service.

Events

Event information can be found on the Official Obituary of Jerry Blaine Dickinson.