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Jerry Dan Abbott

April 25, 1944 — September 1, 2020

Jerry Dan Abbott

Obituary - Jerry Dan Abbott


Jerry Dan Abbott passed away Tuesday, September 1, 2020, in Tulsa, after many health complications. He was 76.

Jerry was born on April 25, 1944, in Durant, Oklahoma. He attended Durant Public Schools, graduating in May 1962. Jerry started playing the trumpet in the 5th grade, when he joined the Durant band program. In 9th grade he joined The Continentals, a commercial dance band of students, who performed in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas. He was an outstanding trumpeter in the Durant High School band, and was awarded the Principle Trumpet Chair in 1961 and 1962 for the Oklahoma All-State Band. His senior year, he was also a student conductor and the drum major.

Jerry was awarded a trumpet scholarship to the University of Houston to study under James Austin, a renowned trumpeter and teacher who played in the Eastman Wind Ensemble at the Eastman School of Music. Jerry was also asked to play in the University of Houston Wind Ensemble under the direction of James Matthews. He transferred to the University of Oklahoma in the fall of 1964 on a band scholarship, where he became one of the top trumpet chairs. He studied with Legh Burns, former first trumpeter with the U.S. Air Force Band, and founder and conductor of the Oklahoma Youth Symphony and the Oklahoma Youth Orchestra. Jerry’s honors included member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America and President of the OU Band his senior year.

Getting his picture made with Miss America, Jayne Ann Jayroe, along with the band fraternity president at OU, was Jerry’s “claim to fame.” The picture was taken during halftime of the OU-Texas football game in 1966, and made the front page of the Dallas Times Herald.

On June 3, 1966, Jerry married Barbara Walker, a fellow music major at OU, in Barbara’s hometown of Cleveland, Oklahoma. Jerry graduated with a Bachelor of Music Education degree in 1967, after which he and Barbara moved to Parsons, Kansas, where Jerry was the Director of band and orchestra. Their first daughter, Mollie Michelle, was born October 5, 1967. Soon afterward, the young family relocated to Duncan, Oklahoma, where Jerry held another band directing position.

Looking for a change, Jerry left the field of education to begin a career in sales. He moved with his family in the fall of 1970 to Tulsa, where he held sales positions, including band rental for Saied Music Company. Jerry and Barbara welcomed their second daughter, Jennifer Jane, on June 15, 1972, while still in Tulsa. A few years after Jennifer’s birth, Jerry and family relocated to Weatherford, Oklahoma, where Jerry worked for QSP (a division of Reader’s Digest), conducting magazine and candy sales for school fundraising programs in northwest Oklahoma. Jerry held more sales positions in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, after returning to the Tulsa area in the early ‘80s.

In Broken Arrow, Jerry, Barbara, and their daughters became members of First United Methodist Church. Jerry sang in the 70-voice choir, taught a mainstay Sunday School class (of which his mother was a member), and formed a Dixieland gospel ragtime musical group called the G.R.U.N.T.S. (the Gospel Ragtime U-Nited Tune Society), in which he played trumpet. During his time teaching the long-established “Hartman” Sunday School class at FUMC, Jerry was called to the ministry. He entered Phillips Theological Seminary of Tulsa in the fall of 1991 to pursue a Master’s degree in Divinity, which he earned in June of 1996. During his studies, he was a choir director for First United Methodist Church in Owasso and interim Local Pastor for Haskell United Methodist Church. Jerry was sent to Mounds UMC in October 1992, and served the Turley, Beggs, Cleveland, and Ketchum United Methodist Churches until retiring in 2006.

Jerry’s hobbies included fishing, camping, traveling, motorcycling, and meeting “the boys” at Ted’s Pipe Shop in Tulsa. Until his death, Jerry was the oldest surviving customer at Ted’s. He will be remembered fondly for his quick and original wit, his ability to make friends with anyone and everyone, and his freewheeling spirit.

Jerry was preceded in death by his parents, O.M. (Bill) and Willie Ruth (Damron) Abbott; his brother and sister-in-law, Harold and Hilda Abbott; and his daughter, Mollie (Abbott) Heaberlin. He is survived by his wife Barbara (Walker) Abbott, of the home; daughter and son-in-law, Jennifer (Abbott) and Paul White, of New Orleans; son-in-law, Tony Heaberlin, of Owasso; grandsons, Collin (Becca) Heath, of Broken Arrow, and Casey Heaberlin, of Owasso; great-grandson, Levi Hamilton Heath, of Broken Arrow; niece, Kitty Frame (John), of Tulsa; and nephews, Chris Moffeit (Kelly), of Holdenville; John Moffeit (Deana) and Wally Moffeit (Amy), of Oklahoma City; and Greg Abbott (Angela), of Suwanee, GA. His survivors include a host of great-nieces, great-nephews, cousins, and friends.

Those wishing to remember Jerry are invited to consider donating to the Presbyterian Methodist Fellowship Church (PMFC) Blessing Box Ministry at PMFC, 310 E. Delaware, Cleveland, OK, 74020; or the Cleveland Middle School and Cleveland High School choral or instrumental music departments, at Cleveland Public Schools, 600 N. Gilbert, Cleveland, OK, 74020.



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