Free, Jerry Ray
March 3, 1934 - November 24, 2018
Jerry Free, 84, passed away Saturday, November 24, 2018, in Dallas, Texas, surrounded by his loving family. He was born on March 3, 1934, in Overton, Texas, to Virgil and Nellie Free. Jerry grew up in the East Texas oil field and graduated from Big Sandy High School. After graduating from Kilgore College, he went to work for BorTunCo in Houston.
Jerry married Janice Gillespie on August 20, 1954, at the First Christian Church in Big Sandy. He has been heard to say his most memorable experience was being married to his vivacious, loving wife for 64 years. They had their first son, Kyle, in August of 1960.
After working for BorTunCo for thirteen years, Jerry decided to strike out on his own. He founded a new company, Longhorn Road Boring, and fathered a second son, Lance, in January of 1966. Jerry was a pioneer in the boring and tunneling industry, providing underground access to run utilities (water, gas, electric, etc.), and helped design much of the boring equipment used in his 52-year long career. He viewed the difficult ground conditions of the Dallas-Ft. Worth area not as an impassable hurdle, but as an opportunity to innovate, and he never shied away from the roadblocks and challenges inherent with underground construction.
Jerry was an avid outdoorsman and golfer. One of his favorite pastimes was setting up and operating the deer camp, where he could be found starting the first Saturday of every November (with an emphasis on hot camp food, good company, and a friendly card game). Second to deer season, Jerry loved the Christmas season and gearing up for the holidays. He was known around the neighborhood for his unique and eye-catching yard decorations.
Living in Farmers Branch for the past 52 years, Jerry was very much involved in the community and his church. He served on the city’s Planning and Zoning Committee, and he was an active member of the First Christian Church of Carrollton, Texas, where he served as a Deacon and Trustee.
Jerry lived a long, happy, productive life, and he touched the lives of many. He passionately loved his wife, sons, and family, and he will always be remembered for standing on the sidelines or in the stands of his kids’ activities from kindergarten through college. He led a life of integrity, and his sons praise him as the finest role model. He was kind, selfless, and possessed a generosity that was unparalleled. Family always came first, and Jerry’s greatest joy was spending time with his family members. He enjoyed his children as adults, remaining very much involved in their lives, loving family Christmases spent together in Red River, New Mexico, and summer weekends at their lake house on Cedar Creek.
Jerry is survived by his wife of 64 years, Janice, his sons Kyle and Lance (Aimee) Free, brothers Tommy (Virginia) Free and Ronnie (Debra) Free, sisters Janet (Bill) Walker and Janell (Phil) Lerum, sisters-in-law Joy Free and Jane (Jerry) Smith, many beloved nieces and nephews, and, of course, his best and most devoted furry friend, Jake. He is preceded in death by his parents and his brothers Ted, Perry, and Kenneth Free.
The family would like to thank the doctors, nurses, and staff at Zale Lipshy University Neurological Hospital, and to give a special thanks to Dr. Hugh McClung, his longtime family internist.
Those wishing to give a memorial gift are encouraged to consider the Jerry Free Memorial Civic League Scholarship:
The Civic League
P.O. Box 814372
Farmers Branch, TX 75381-4372
We deeply miss our dear husband, father, brother, and uncle. We will treasure the countless wonderful memories we have of Jerry’s loving and larger-than-life presence.
A celebration of his life will be held at First Christian Church at 1835 Walnut Avenue in Carrollton, Texas, on Saturday, December 1, at 1:00 pm. A reception will follow immediately afterward.
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