SpotlightWaynedale Obituaries

On The Passing Of Jerry Vandeveer

The Board of Commissioners extends its condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Jerry Vandeveer. His influence in Allen County was expansive and touched the lives of many.

Community members may have met Jerry at The Wood Shack, an architectural salvage and antiques store he and his wife owned for many years on the corner of Fairfield Ave. and W. Baker Street. It was from there that they labored intentionally to improve the homes and green spaces along W. Baker Street with the ultimate goal of improving and enhancing the Baker-Fairfield neighborhood where they lived and worked.

Others may have known Jerry as a tireless advocate for police and firefighters. Beyond simply expressing stalwart support for emergency personnel, the Vandeveers lead the initiative to create and maintain the Allen County Law Enforcement/Firefighters Memorial on North Wells Street.

There are still others that learned about Jerry through the billboard campaigns he created to honor his late wife, Linda, who died of Stage 4 colon cancer in 2016. One set of ads were established to spread the word, a colonoscopy can save your life. A second campaign focused on empowering women.

In a joint statement, Allen County Commissioners Rich Beck, Therese Brown, and Nelson Peters reflected that, “No matter how you knew Jerry Vandeveer, you were inspired by him. Jerry was proud of his neighborhood and this community. His support for law enforcement flowed out of concern for public safety and the well-being of others. He was a doer – when he saw problems, he created solutions. He saw the good in people and had a heart of gold. Allen County is a better place because of Jerry Vandeveer, a catalyst for positive change. He will be missed.”

The Commissioners will honor the legacy of Jerry Vandeveer and his late wife by continuing the tradition of presenting the Linda and Jerry Vandeveer Impact Award each September to an individual or individuals who reside in Allen County and live a life of service to our community outside of their regular profession in the example and tradition set by the Vandeveers. Nominations for this year’s award will be accepted beginning in June 2024.

It is with a very heavy heart and much sadness that Chief Caudill and the Fort Wayne Police Department family mourn the passing of Jerry Vandeveer. Jerry was a pillar in the community and a dear friend to law enforcement. We cannot give a better tribute than his son, Gerald Vandeveer II and echo his words:

“Jerry was not just a father, but a beacon of strength and dedication to our community. He was a celebrated activist, deeply involved with law enforcement agencies in Allen County and a staunch supporter of our local Firefighters. His awards and acknowledgements barley scratch the surface of the impact he had on those around him.To those fortunate enough to truly know him, his passionate nature was unmistakable. He possessed a boundless capacity for caring, an unwavering love for everyone, and an honest, open heart that never hesitated to express his true thoughts. Regardless of whether you were a long-time friend or a new acquaintance.

He always stood firm in his convictions, never faltering in his beliefs. This doesn’t mean he was infallible; rather, his courage to stand up for his beliefs was matched by his readiness to admit his mistakes when he recognized them

My father’s generosity came from his humility. He did not give from a place of abundance, for his pockets were never deeper than his concerns. Instead, he found ways to make the impossible happen, turning what many would call ”hair-brained ideas” into reality and ultimately successes. His loyalty was earned but once you had it, he would always have your back. He loved protecting and supporting those who were in need. He stood by his friends and their dreams with conviction.”

In Jerry’s own words: “At Peace with Pride!”

The Waynedale News Staff
Latest posts by The Waynedale News Staff (see all)

The Waynedale News Staff

Our in-house staff works with community members and our local writers to find, write and edit the latest and most interesting news-worthy stories. We are your free community newspaper, boasting positive, family friendly and unique news. > Read More Information About Us > More Articles Written By Our Staff