ROYAL OAK — Jerry passed peacefully at home on Jan. 9, 2021, at age 83. He fought a brave battle against Parkinson’s Disease since 2005 and his spirit was finally freed from the body that failed him, but never could contain his determination, humor, and love of life, family, and friends.
Jerry earned a PhD in pharmacology from the University of Iowa in 1966 and went on to a prolific academic career at Michigan State University in the Department of Pharmacology. In 1980, Jerry was appointed as the Founding Director of the MSU Center for Environmental Toxicology where programs were developed to apply multidisciplinary sciences to human and environmental toxicology. He influenced many young students, especially those who worked in his laboratory over the years; he personally trained 5 post-doctoral fellows, 10 PhD students, and 4 MS students. During his academic career, he published over 250 journal articles, book chapters, and scientific reviews. In 1983, Jerry was named Vice President of Preclinical Development at Smith Kline & French Pharmaceuticals (which later became SmithKline Beecham) where he managed large departments in the United States and United Kingdom for 10 years. In 1993, Jerry took on a new challenge to become president and CEO of the pharmaceutical biotechnology companies Lexin and Sparta. Jerry was also very active in scientific societies, notably the Society of Toxicology where he served as president in 1987-88, the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET), the International Union of Pharmacology, the International Union of Toxicology, and several others. He also served on the Editorial Boards of ten scientific journals.
In 1999, Jerry retired from the pharmaceutical industry to ease into retirement by overseeing construction of a new home near St. Michaels, Maryland, and to pursue his lifelong passion of fishing and hunting. Retirement also allowed more time for hosting family and many friends, as well as extensive worldwide traveling to explore other cultures and cuisine with his wife Jacque, family, and friends.
Jerry grew up in the small town of Tekoa in Eastern Washington where he learned to fish with his father for lake trout, bass, and “blues” (a land-locked salmon) in Waitts Lake, Washington, and Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho. Later he shared his love of fishing with family and friends in Ocean City, Maryland, and on the Chesapeake Bay with a weekly crew known as Tuesday’s Hookers.
Jerry is survived by his wife of nearly 36 years, Jacqueline H. Smith; along with his children, Bruce (Lynn) in Boston, Massachusetts, and Marilyn Hook McKenna in Issaquah, Washington; and his six grandchildren, Madeleine, Katie, Emily, Andrew, Robert and Connor.
A heartfelt thanks from the family to all the wonderful physicians, therapists, friends, and caregivers from Comfort Keepers, Shore Regional Health and Talbot Hospice that provided much needed help, support, and comfort over the years.
In memory of Jerry, please consider donating to a charity of your choice or one of Jerry’s favorites: YMCA of the Chesapeake, University of Maryland Memorial Hospital Foundation of Shore Regional Health (Easton), Society of Toxicology, Michael J. Fox Foundation, and Talbot Hospice.
A celebration of life will be scheduled at a later date.
For online condolences, visit www.fhnfuneralhome.com.