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Jerry Lee Kitchens

Jerry Lee Kitchens passed away on August 3, 2023, at the age of 77 in the comfort of his home. Born on October 9, 1945, in Jasper, Alabama, he lived most of his life in Walker County. Jerry was preceded in death by his parents, Furn and Arleen Kitchens, and his sister and brother, Darlene and Bobby Kitchens.

Jerry owned and operated a tree farm and worked as a coal miner, except for a three-year army tour in Germany, where he served as the company commander of an Honest John Rocket Battery. He later served in the Army Reserve, where he attained the rank of Major in the 87th Maneuver Command, whose mission was to train and exercise Army Unit Command Headquarters located east of the Mississippi River from Maine to Puerto Rico.

Jerry attended many schools, including elementary school at Parrish, Walker High School, and Walker College in Jasper, Alabama. He enjoyed playing the drums, trombone, and tuba in the band at Walker High and Walker College. His military education included basic army training, advanced infantry training, army drill sergeant school, artillery officer candidate school, advanced field artillery officer school (Fort Sill, OK), and Command and General Staff College (CGSC). Jerry retired from his job as a longwall headgate operator at Shoal Creek mine in April 2000. He was previously employed at Mary Lee #2 Mine.

Jerry considered himself fortunate to have had the opportunity to do many different jobs, occupations, and hobbies. He grew up working on the family dairy farm. His first part-time job was as a horseback tour guide in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah. Jerry’s journey took an exciting turn when he landed his first full-time job in the construction of the launch towers for the Saturn V moon rocket at Cape Canaveral, Florida. While working there he received his draft notice and enlisted in the army. After his army tour, he became a design engineer, designing fire protection sprinkler systems until the construction industry collapsed in the ’70s. He then was employed by Drummond Company as a coal miner while he bought a tree farm and engaged in logging and sawmilling until his retirement. Jerry also drove an 18-wheeler log and coal truck, delivered mail for the Airborne Express, rode motorcycles, piloted airplanes, built homes for Habitat for Humanity, planted thousands of trees, and wrote poetry, short stories, and religious commentaries.

After retirement and due to bad health, he spent his time woodworking and caring for his disabled parents. His interests also included history, government (not politics), and civil rights law. Jerry would admit he was not a great singer, but that didn’t keep him from singing as good and as loud as he could at the Sacred Harp (Fa, Sol, La) singings with his singing friends.

In 2012, Jerry received a kidney transplant at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville. He is donating his body for anatomical research at UAB in Birmingham, Alabama. There will be no funeral, graveside, or memorial service. Jerry was thankful for his long life, his friends, and especially for his wonderful marriage of 51 years to his beloved wife, Mischilene Crawford Kitchens.