Jerry R. Carritt, 85, of Onawa, Iowa passed away Thursday, June 24, 2021 at his residence surrounded by his family.
A funeral service will be 10:00 A.M. Tuesday, June 29, 2021 at the Rush Family Chapel, Onawa, Iowa led by Elder Mary Hamer and Elder John Carritt. Burial will follow in the Kennebec Cemetery, Castana, Iowa with Military Honors provided by the United States Air Force. A visitation will be 6:00 – 8:00 P.M. Monday, June 28, 2021 at the Rush Family Chapel with a Masonic Service at 7:00 P.M. with Steve Jewett, orator. Arrangements are under the direction of Rush Family Care Service, Onawa, Iowa.
Jerry was born January 30, 1936, in Turin, Iowa, the son of Louis Marshal and Blanche Mary (Allen) Carritt.
After graduating from Onawa High School in May of 1954, Jerry joined the United States Air Force. After boot camp he went to Parks AFB in California. He attended the Air Force Aircraft Maintenance School in Wichita Falls, TX. After completing this school, Jerry returned to Onawa and married Mary Lou McNear on August 21, 1955. The couple then traveled to his first duty station at Larson AFB Moses Lake, WA. There Jerry worked in aircraft maintenance from September 1955 through June of 1957, until he was transferred to Ellsworth AFB, SD for one year. During this time, he was alerted for the Lebanon Crisis in 1958. Jerry’s first son, Jeffrey Ray Carritt was born on November 1, 1958.
Next Jerry attended the In-Flight Refueling School at Chanut AFB in IL, and was then transferred to Columbus AFB, MS to the 901st Air Refueling Squadron as a Boom Operator.
In March of 1959 he was transferred to Goose Bay Airbase, Labrador. In August of 1960 he was stationed with the 906th Air Refueling Squadron in Minot, ND. In 1961, he spent 90 days overseas with a “different government agency”. His second son, Justin Roy Carritt, was born on May 26, 1961.
In 1962 Jerry returned overseas with the same “different government agency” until he was recalled for the Cuban Crisis. His third child, Michelle Lou Carritt, was born on July 25, 1963. In the fall of 1964, he took his first trip to Vietnam. While in Minot he attended the State Teachers College seeking a degree in Zoology until he was transferred in 1965 to Hawaii. At that time Jerry transferred his education credits to the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. His job transferred him to the Pacific Air Command Airborne Command Post at Hickam AFB, HI. Jerry spent most of his time visiting countries and areas of the Southwest Pacific, which included tours in Vietnam, the Philippines, Guam, Okinawa, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and numerous places he wasn’t supposed to be.
In August of 1968, Jerry was transferred to the 407th Air Refueling Squadron at Loring AFB in Maine. Upon arrival he immediately returned to the Republic of Vietnam. Upon his return he spent various short tours in Spain, Labrador and back to Vietnam. He did his last tour to Vietnam in 1972. While in Maine, he took an interest in becoming a pilot and began flying lessons at the Aero Club. Jerry received his pilot’s license in 1968.
From Maine he was transferred to the 28th Air Refueling Squadron at Ellsworth AFB in South Dakota. Jerry was promoted to a staff position in the 28th Bomb Wing Unit until his retirement in January of 1975.
During his flying career with the Air Force, Jerry’s time was split 50% at the home base where the wife and kids stayed, and 50% on deployments. During the time he was home half of that was spent standing alert. So, his wife Mary Lou did an excellent job raising the children with him only being home 25% of the time during his 20 years.
After retiring from the Air Force with 250 military combat missions, and an average of one tour per year from 1964 through 1972 to Vietnam, he returned to Onawa, IA with his family where he started his civilian career for Airways Service, Inc. at the Sioux City Airport as a charter pilot and flight instructor. In 1978 he formed a partnership and purchased Airways Service, Inc. In 1983 he sold his interest in Airways Service and took a position with Simpson Aircraft Sales in Onawa. His position there was as a pilot, flight instructor and doing some aircraft sales until 1995 when Simpson Aircraft sold out. Jerry then went to Mechanical Refrigeration as a corporate pilot until 2002 when they discontinued operation. His next position was as a corporate pilot for Homestead Homes out of Wayne, NE. In Jerry’s words “I have accumulated a total flying time of some 22,000 hours with the average work year consisting of 2, 080 hours, do the math.”
Jerry was a member of the Abu Bekr Shrine and has been since 1975. He was a member of the Flying Fez unit and flew many children to the different Shrine hospitals for care. Jerry was twice Past Commander of the Flying Fez, and a member of the White Horse Patrol. He was a member and Past Director of the Sioux City Royal Order of Jesters, as well as a member and Past Commander of the Onawa Post Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Jerry was also grandpa to nine grandsons, six great-grandsons and two great-granddaughters.
As far as hobbies and recreational activity, as it was in high school, his great love was hunting. Jerry also enjoyed fishing and was able to return to his childhood days to raise and ride horses which he thoroughly enjoyed.
Survivors include his wife, Mary Lou Carritt, of Onawa, Iowa; children, Jeffrey Ray and his wife, Nancy Carritt of Omaha, Nebraska, Justin Roy Carritt of Dalhart, Texas , and Michelle Lou Carritt of Onawa, Iowa; grandchildren, Quentin Carritt, Jason Carritt, Andrew Carritt, Austin Carritt, Ethan Carritt, Joshua Carritt, Michael Kendall, Matthew Kendall, and Micoulley Kendall; great- grandchildren, Daltin and Kelsey Carritt, Jacob Carritt, Graham, Charlee, and Gatlin Carritt, and Andrew and Korbin Kendall; sister, Barbara Lambert; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Louis and Blanche (Allen) Carritt; and siblings, Joe Carritt, Donny Carritt, and Judy Schopke.
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