Jerry DeWayne Chambers was born February 14, 1943 in the back bedroom of the house in Isabella, Oklahoma where his parents resided. His parents were Elmer Chambers, Sr., born in De Moines, Iowa and Anna Koehn Chambers, born in Salina, Kansas. They later moved to Ringwood where Jerry attended school. At the age of fourteen and on his profession of faith and need of a Savior, he was baptized into the First Baptist Church in Ringwood. In 1961 he quit school and made a custom harvesting trip with Mr. Garner from Cherokee. He met and married his first wife, Ann Jordan from Winfield, Kansas. They later divorced.
Jerry joined the U.S. Army and took Basic and AIT at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. He was stationed at Ft. Riley, Kansas then his unit was sent to Germany for the Berlin Crisis. They later returned to Ft. Riley. A fellow soldier introduced him to his fiancé on July 25 and on August 10, the day they were supposed to get married, Jerry got engaged to his second wife, Wanda Cochran, who was in the Women’s Army Corps.
They were married November 8, 1963 and exactly two weeks later on November 22, 1963, President Kennedy was assassinated. He was discharged on October 20, 1964. He worked for Western Southern Life Insurance Company, first as a salesman, where he sold a half million dollars of insurance his first year. No one else had ever achieved that especially in their first year with the company. At the age of 23 he became the youngest staff manager the company ever had and managed an office and staff of seven salesmen.
Later he became a licensed electrician and owned his own business, “Jerry’s Electric.” Wanda designed homes while Jerry and son, Tony did the electrical and heat and air. Also, Jerry acted as contractor while subcontracting homes in Ringwood and Cleo Springs and later in Judsonia, Arkansas. In his spare time he earned his private pilot license.
He attended Phillips University for the equivalent of two years. During this time he and Wanda owned and operated Garber Nursing Home as partners until they grew tired of spending more time doing paperwork than spending time with their patients. They semi-retired to an operation of 40,000 laying hens in Judsonia, Arkansas.
All through the years, Jerry had been a member of the U.S. Army Reserves and steadily gained in rank and responsibility as Platoon Sergeant, Recruiter, and First Sergeant. He helped establish and served as Commandant of the First Drill Sergeant Academy at the Enid Unit.
At the rank of Master Sergeant, E-8 he felt he had no more dragons to slay as an enlisted person so he studied and worked until he received a Direct Commission to First Lieutenant. This led to more promotions as he advanced in rank. As a captain he was Company Commander. Later he became an executive officer at the rank of Major. His unit was activated and sent to Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri during Desert Storm. This relieved the active duty unit at Ft. Leonard wood to go to Iraq.
He and Wanda had two sons, Tony in 1964 and Tom in 1977. In 1990 he and Wanda were divorced in Enid. Jerry transferred to an Army Reserve Unit in Wichita, Kansas where he had met Nancy Hillman. She became his third wife in 1992. They divorced in 1995.
On May 15, 1995 Jerry was involved in a very severe single pick-up accident just outside Goddard, Kansas on his way to work. His injuries were extensive and necessitated his being honorably discharged from the Reserves after a total of twenty years military service. He also had to be placed in an extended care facility first in Kansas and then in Oklahoma.
Jerry passed away May 15, 2020 at Oak Hills Nursing Center in Jones, Oklahoma from pneumonia exactly twenty-five years to the day from when he had his accident.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Elmer and Anna Koehn Chambers; two half-brothers, Virgil Chambers and Calvin Chambers; two half-sisters, Pearl Lyons and Irene Shossow; brother, LeRoy Chambers; two sisters, Carrie Chambers at the age of 3 and Wilma Hufford.
He is survived by his sons, Tony Chambers and wife, Sue of Paris, Arkansas and Tom Chambers of Enid; six grandchildren; one great grandchild; two brothers, Robert Chambers of South Dakota and Elmer Chambers, Jr. of Enid; four sisters, Mary (Mrs. J.C. ) Stephens of Olathe, Kansas, Bertha (Mrs. Raymond) Sweet of Fairmont, Sandy (Mrs. Don) Dow of Fairview and Ruth (Mrs. Steve) Stubblefield of Enid.
Jerry is being cremated in Oklahoma City. There will be a graveside service conducted by with burial of ashes on Saturday, June 6, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at Fairview Cemetery. Despite Jerry’s many years of military service, due to Covid-19, military honors cannot be bestowed by the American Legion. In lieu of this the National Anthem and Taps will be provided at the service. Arrangements are by Lanman Funeral Home, Inc. of Helena. www.lanmanmemorials.com Facebook: Lanman Funeral Home Inc.
His spirit is now serving in God’s Army where he is free of pain and adversity. Please shed no tears – another soldier just went home.