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Jerry Odell Austin was born on July 14, 1956, to Calvin Austin and Jennie Lou Walker in Anderson, South Carolina. The second of eight children, Jerry was joy and love that brought everyone together. In late 1962, Jerry and his family relocated to Philadelphia, PA, where he was raised in South Philadelphia. Jerry loved his South Philly community, and they truly loved him back.
Educated in the Philadelphia public school system, Jerry graduated from Edward Bok Technical High School where he studied auto mechanics. His knowledge and love for auto mechanics was carried throughout his life. Jerry could often be found working on the cars of his friends and family. Jerry was a jack of all trades, and took great pride in the work he did, from auto mechanics, home repair, and carpentry. Jerry was a man that had gifted hands, he was happy to be of service to those in need and took special pride whenever he was able to help those he loved. Jerry held numerous jobs throughout the City of Philadelphia, most notably he worked at the Gulf Gas Station and the Candy Factory. Jerry loved people and used his love and compassion to show his love through his work.
Jerry’s heart was filled on March 11, 1975, when his eldest daughter Audrey Angelique Murray was born, whom he raised and loved dearly. Nine years later, Jerry’s heart became complete, on April 6, 1984, when his “USA Baby”, Unique Sherrell Austin was born. Jerry loved his daughters immensely and held each of them in great regard. Jerry’s love for his two daughters was evident in all that he did. From the comic relief to the special moments shared, he will be missed sorely, but surely never forgotten.
Family was essential to Jerry, and nothing brought him more joy than being able to spend time with his family. He would purposefully attend all family functions, loving the laughter and love shared. He made it his business to show up for his family whenever needed, and everyone knew they could count on Jerry. To know Jerry was to love Jerry. Being in his presence you were guaranteed two things, a good laugh, along with a fond memory of South Philly. Jerry did not care how many times you may have heard his story; he would tell the story each time as if it was the first. Jerry was one of the best story tellers; his unique, animated way of telling the story kept all who could hear fully intrigued.
While spending time with family was his first love, Jerry also loved dogs, teaching others how to fix bikes, fishing, and watching westerns. You could often find Jerry hanging out at the barbershop in South Philly, with his barber Snooze. If he wasn’t at the shop, he was hanging with his “ride or die”, his sister Louise. One of his happiest moments was attending his 65th surprise birthday party in 2021, surrounded by his children, siblings, nieces and nephews, and a host of other family and friends. It was pure joy to see Jerry doing what he loved most, being with the people he loved.
Jerry was an honorary member of the Garden of Prayer World’s Prayer Center. True to self, Jerry brought his love and laughter to the church and shared his joy with the saints of God. He had a special connection with Pastor Bryan Jackson, often asking for him by name. In one of his last hospital visits, he woke up and shared that he had a dream where Pastor Jackson told him he would be okay. He relayed this dream with much clarity and assurance, making it clear that he found a divine peace that surpasses all understanding. Just as he did with everyone he encountered, he loved and appreciated the members of GOP, as they loved and prayed for him in return.
On October 12, 2023, God called Jerry from labor to reward. Surrounded by his daughters and family, he peacefully answered the call of the Lord. He was proceeded in death by his Mother Jennie Lou, and two sisters, Deborah and Sylvia (Nicey).
He leaves to cherish fond and beautiful memories: his loving and devoted daughters, Audrey Murray and Unique Austin; granddaughter, Quadirah Lindsay; siblings Calvin Austin, Demetress (Louis) Combs, Deanna Austin, Patrice Austin, and Joseph Austin; a host of neices and nephews (each one being his favorite); great neices and nephews and cousins; close friend to his mother, Aunt Shirley and Uncle Leon; his friends, his barber-Snooze and his home aide, Gwen Jackson. Jerry will forever be loved and missed by us all.