Long-time Pottsboro advocate Jerry Peddicord dies at 102

Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
Jerry Peddicord, right, poses with friends and family during his 100th birthday celebration Saturday at the Prothro Center in Pottsboro.

A local veteran who served in the Navy in both World War II and Korea but still felt the need to serve his community when he retired to Pottsboro back in the 1960s died this week.

Gerald "Jerry" Peddicord, who was probably best known around Grayson County as the former manager of Tanglewood Resort and one of the forces behind Keep Pottsboro Beautiful, died at 102.

In 2018 at his 100th birthday party, Peddicord said his long life wasn't a surprise to him.

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"I attribute it (to) my higher source which is God," he said. "Every time I would be out flying from an aircraft carrier and I would come back and land, I would say thank you to God. That is a dangerous thing to be doing. I truly believe that God is with me always. From the time that I was about five years old, I have followed God."

That long life began on November 16, 1918 on a farm in Kansas according to information submitted by Lakeway United Methodist Church in Pottsboro said. He enlisted in the Navy at 18 in 1936 and served on USS Oklahoma in the Pacific Ocean for a year and then went into the Naval Academy from which he graduated in December 1941, just days after Pearl Harbor.

He then served on the USS Indiana for the rest of World War II taking part in several island invasions. Later, he attended flight training school and learned to fly fighter planes from aircraft carriers. 

He was on duty in the Pentagon in the Joint Chiefs of Staff war room during the Cuban Missile Crisis," the Lakeway UMC information said.

He received his master's degree in physics from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1951 and he retired from the Navy in 1969 after 33 years of service.

His first marriage was to Virginia Harnsberger in 1944, and the couple had two children before she died in 1964. Jerry Peddicord then married Cozy Lee (Pate) Dyer in 1970. 

Peddicord was a charter member of the Lakeway UMC in Pottsboro.

When he retired from the Navy, Peddicord served as  the manager of Tanglewood Resort and Country Club for 10 years. After that, he served on national, state and local civic, fraternal and charitable organizations. 

Giving back, it seems was something that just really called to Peddicord.

At the time of his 100th birthday, he said, "Although I served in the Navy during World War II and during Korea and other times when it was pretty dangerous, I felt that when I got out of the Navy and retired, that I should do something to pay the country back. I needed to show my appreciation. That is what drove me."

He was a fan of keeping things tidy after serving so long on Navy ships which, he said, are kept extremely clean. So, he worked to help keep Pottsboro clean to make it an enjoyable place for people to live and raise their families.

Peddicord was the founder of the Keep Pottsboro Beautiful chapter of the national organization. A street in t he city also bears his name.

Memorial services will be held at 1:30 p.m. at Lakeway United Methodist Church in Pottsboro on Oct. 17.

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