Yesterday, Aug. 29, Betty and I attended the memorial service for our departed president Jerry Pionk.
I had the honor of meeting his sister, Rhonda, aunt Doris, and his son LTC Jerome Pionk, who gave the most eloquent off-the-cuff eulogy to his father. LTC Pionk made it back stateside in time to bring the family, and Jerry’s urn back to Jerry’s roots in Watertown, SD.
The memorial service was held in the Veterans Memorial Park, on the shores of Lake Kampeska. The service had a full honor guard, firing squad and taps played with a trumpeter playing an echo.
Jerry came from a humble background, his dad died at age 38 and Jerry at times worked two jobs, while going to high school in Watertown, where he became a championship wrestler. He went on to serve 30 years in the Army, became a Sergeant Major, saw duty in 30 countries and attained a doctorate degree to teach for a NY Univ.
He suffered a heart attack while on the phone to his wife, from his office. His sister said he received immediate medical aid, but they were unable to revive him.
I personally know that under the new leadership, President Aves Thompson, John Batty-Sylvan 2nd, and past president Mike Davino, along with our seasoned and dedicated sec.-treas., Bob Haynes, the Association in in a fortunate position after this tragedy.