Jerry F. Wetzel

Born in Van Lear, KY on May 26, 1934

Departed on July 17, 2016 and resided in Hendersonville, TN

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Mr. Wetzel passed peacefully into the Lord’s presence on the morning of July 17, 2016 at the age of 82. An only child, he was born May 26, 1934 in Van Lear, KY to the late Raymond and Fannie Wetzel.

Jerry proudly served in the U.S. Marines Corps from 1956-1958. Stationed at Parris Island, he played First Chair French Horn in the Marine Band. In fact, the pride he took in his service as a Marine and his patriotism for our country were the encouragement and cause for several of his students to join and serve in the Marine Corps. He touched the lives of countless students during his tenure as a high school band director in Metro Nashville from 1964-1986 at Antioch High School and from 1987-1989 at Hunters Lane High School. Jerry was not simply a teacher or band director; he was a mentor, friend, and role model to his students, whom he invested in as if they were his own children. Simply stated, he made a difference in the lives of those over whom he held influence.

Throughout his lifetime, Jerry was an avid reader and collector of books. In fact, at his passing he still had several brand new books which he had not had the opportunity to delve into. He enjoyed conversing and debating over politics, a subject in which he kept himself abreast of current events.

MUSIC was his passion! His instrument of choice was the French Horn; although, he had the gift of orchestrating beautiful music played by various instruments simultaneously via his talents as a director. Classical was the genre which spoke to his soul at the deepest level, but he also relished in the sounds of Big Band and Jazz. Wilhelm Richard Wagner, Stan Kenton, and Dave Brubeck were his favorite artists respectively. Every August, for the last decade or so, Jerry attended the Drum Corps International Summer Games with his son Mike. He very much enjoyed experiencing the flawless routines performed by Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps from Illinois. Music was certainly important to Jerry; however, food was a close second.

When it came to cuisine, Jerry was an all-American steak and potatoes kind of guy. He wasn’t much into health food, but food which fed the soul. Reese’s peanut butter cups, Snickers chocolate bars, and Goo Goo Clusters were among his favorite treats which appeased his sweet tooth. Jerry would wash it all down with a refreshing glass of sweet iced tea or an R.C. Cola.

Jerry will forever be remembered for his love of God, deep passion for music, and his proud service as a Marine. All of these core elements radiated from him and were tangible to all who knew him. He is preceded in death by his wife Doris Jean Jaggers Wetzel. Jerry is survived by his son Dr. Mike (Maria) Wetzel, many other extended family members, all of “Mr. Wetzel's Kids,” the affectionate name given to his band students, and numerous other treasured friends.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Jerry F. Wetzel to The Island Chapel (Building Fund), 1271 Pinellas Bayway S., Tierra Verde, FL, 33715.

7 Comments to Jerry F. Wetzel

  1. Deborah Gill Miller
    July 18, 2016 10:13 pm

    Mr. Wetzel was one of the finest men I’ve ever known. He had such a positive influence in my life as I know he did in so many other lives as well. Our hearts are sad at his passing, yet we rejoice that he is now with the Lord.

  2. Jim and Carol Hoyt
    July 20, 2016 11:00 am

    It was such a joy to get to meet you here in St. Petersburg, and to hear of your love of God, of Mike and Maria, of music, and of the Marine Corps. It was so interesting hearing about where you grew up and your experiences. Although we knew you for a short time, your wonderful memory will last in our hearts.

  3. Ronnie (Waldo) Haislip
    July 20, 2016 2:51 pm

    I guess he stood out among all of my teachers for what ever reason. Thinking back, he had to have a lot of patience to deal with all of us and how we acted. I remember the “D” I got for conduct in his class. That was when parents backed the teacher and took they took appropriate actions at home. 🙂

    Thank you Mr. Wetzel for everything, sorry about all the toilet paper every Halloween 🙂 It wasn’t me.


  4. Mitzi and Jeff Chriss
    July 22, 2016 1:05 pm

    Thanks for becoming part of our family. We will forever remember the fun christmas eve’s we shared with you and how the kids immediately called you Pawpaw Wetzel and your face lit up. Rainy has been non stop praying for you to get better and walk again….and when we told her you were gone to heaven….she is now praying daily to thank GOD for taking you to heaven and letting you walk there. So you have gone from our presence but not from our thoughts and memories. And we will continue to love on Maria and Mike!!

  5. Roy & Janey Stringfellow
    July 23, 2016 12:01 pm

    We were privileged to get to know such a great man of God and a true gentleman. We really enjoyed the time that your spend with us as your family in Saint Petersburg. We really loved our conversations with you and will never forget your eyes full of joy looking forward to reunite with your Lord and the second love of your life, Doris. Thank you for leaving us with your best legacy, your son and our Pastor Mike and Maria.

  6. Roy & Janet Stringfellow
    July 23, 2016 12:08 pm

    It was an honor to get to know you and enjoy you as part of your family in Saint Petersburg. We will always cherish our conversations with you in our hearts. You were a true gentleman and son of God. We will never forget the joy reflected in your eyes when you were getting ready to meet our Lord and the love of your life, Doris. Thank you for leaving behind your best legacy; your son and our Pastor Mike & Maria.

  7. Greg
    July 25, 2016 2:48 pm

    Your life shall continue on Mr. Wetzel all the hearts, lasting impressions and words of encouragement. Antioch 79′

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