Jerry Logan Pope

1930 ~ 2019

Obit photo Jerry Pope

   Captain Jerry Logan Pope, age 88 of Bloomington, MN, passed away on March 23, 2019. He was born May 29, 1930 in Atlanta, Georgia. Jerry was named after his mother, Geraldine Logan. His father, James Soule Pope, was editor of the Louisville Courier-Journal and the Atlanta Constitution newspapers. Like his father, Jerry had a talent for writing. For many years he wrote freelance articles and book reviews. He also read avidly, with favorite writers ranging from John D. MacDonald to Kate Atkinson and, later in life, the poet Emily Dickinson.

   As a child, Jerry loved creating home monster movies with his beloved brothers, Jimmy and Logan. The family moved from Atlanta to Louisville, Kentucky, when Jerry was in high school, and he graduated from Louisville’s Male High (an all-boys school) in 1947. As a teen, he participated in boxing, coached by his older brother. Other interests he developed in early adulthood included deep sea fishing and skiing.

   After college, he enlisted in the Air Force, but instead was drafted into the Marines where he served for two years. He later joined the Navy as a pilot, serving for three years and rising to the rank of Lieutenant. He was then hired by the Army as a civilian flight instructor, thus giving him an association with four branches of the military. Several years later, he went back into the Navy where he served for three more years, based at the Roosevelt Roads Navy base in Puerto Rico. During the Cuban missile crisis, he flew between Rosie Roads and Guantanamo Bay to transport photographs of the silo installations.

   Jerry’s adult life was defined by flying airplanes, playing tennis, and making music. He joined Northwest Airlines as a pilot on May 08, 1959. There he later met his wife, Gloria, an NWA flight attendant. Jerry flew aircraft including the DC-6, DC-7, Lockheed Electra, and B-727 during his 31-year career at NWA, retiring on May 29, 1990 as a DC-10 captain. He remained interested in flying, and the last movie he saw in the theater was Sully.

   Jerry graduated from the University of Florida in 1951 with a varsity letter in tennis. The life of a pilot allowed Jerry ample time to perfect his tennis game, and upon his retirement from the airline, he dedicated himself to the pursuit of a top-ten national ranking for his age bracket, travelling the country to compete in tennis tournaments. He welcomed moving into a new age bracket every five years, and held the #1 sectional ranking in singles for his age division 34 times. In 2006, he achieved his goal with a national ranking of #8 in singles in the 75 age bracket, and #2 in doubles.

   Jerry also served as a linesman and umpire at the U.S. Open tournament in Forest Hills, New York, and he mentored many junior tennis players, including serving for 17 years as volunteer assistant coach at Jefferson High School (where Jerry’s stepson Matt played on the team). In 1999, Jerry was named to the U.S.T.A. Northern Hall of Fame for his many tennis accomplishments. His picture hangs on the hall of fame wall at the Fred Wells Tennis & Education Center.

   Jerry’s competitive tennis career ended in 2007, when he suffered a stroke. He trained to regain his agility and strength. When it became apparent, however, that he would not be able to play tennis at his former level, he took up golf instead, and enjoyed watching tennis and golf tournaments on television. He also loved to walk along the banks of Nine Mile Creek. For many years, he and Gloria took a break from the Minnesota winters on the Florida gulf coast, watching sunsets and Roseate Spoonbills from their balcony.

   Jerry took up music later in life, learning to play the guitar and the harmonica. Music was a joy shared with Gloria, and many evenings were spent with friends and family experimenting with their collection of oddball instruments. Jerry also composed his own songs, especially for family occasions, and created a songbook titled “Dreaming in Panther Country” (a reference to his love for wildcats).

   Jerry flew west on March 23, 2019, at the age of 88. He is survived by his devoted wife, Gloria Birkholz Pope; daughters Elizabeth and Susan; stepson Matthew; grandchildren Elizabeth, Dylan, Jamie, Charlotte, Julia, Sierra, Landon, and Caleb; great-granddaughter Ivy; nieces Julie, Shawna, Sue, and Diane; nephews Jim, Neil, Cade, and Wayne; his “tennis daughters” Kathy and Sharon; his former wife, Phyllis Pope Bofferding; and his faithful companion cat, Molly.

(Elizabeth Season, daughter of Jerry Pope)