Jerry Allen Bayless, 78, died peacefully on December 10, 2020 at his home in Farmington, New Mexico of complications from COPD. Known for his generosity and boundless caring for others, he will always be remembered as a good man who did good things for good people.
He was born on June 15, 1942 in Independence, Missouri to Jack and Faye Bayless, growing up in Eureka, Kansas and later moving to Russell, Kansas, where he attended high school and was active in student council and debate. He was also an exchange student to Germany, on the wrestling team, and elected prom king.
Jerry attended the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 1964. He earned a Master of Education degree in Counseling Psychology at Kansas State Teacher’s College of Emporia (now Emporia State University) before ultimately moving to Stillwater, Oklahoma and earning a doctoral degree in College Administration from Oklahoma State University in 1972.
On June 11, 1966, he married Patricia Worthington with whom he had three sons, Ryan, Todd, and Brent.
Jerry and family moved to Gainesville, Texas in 1973, where he worked at Cooke County College (now North Central Texas College) as head of counseling, Dean of Students, and Vice President. An active member in the community, Jerry served as Boy Scout Master, President of the Gainesville Rotary Club, and as a deacon and president of the board at First Christian Church. One of his proudest achievements during his years in Gainesville was spearheading the effort to preserve and expand the Frank Buck Zoo after the historic flood of 1981.
In 1984, he moved to Garland, Texas where he married his second wife, Janet McClarnon, and became step-father to four children, Matt, Mike, Amy, and Emily.
After his career in higher education, Jerry worked in Management Training and Organizational Development for Texas Instruments, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin, earning numerous awards and honors during his tenure.
A proud veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, Jerry enlisted in the National Guard in 1966 and served honorably as an officer in the Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army Reserves, retiring in 1989 after rising to the rank of Major.
Jerry retired in 2004, and after a stint travelling the country by RV, settled down in Corpus Christi, Texas before eventually moving to Austin, Texas in 2011, and finally to Farmington, New Mexico in 2019.
Jerry was well known for his passion for and knowledge of politics and government, and he was a true believer in the idea of civic responsibility, social justice, and community service. He was also an adventurous traveler, avid camper, and passionate lover of nature and the American West. No slouch on the dance floor and quick with a joke, he was the perpetual life of the party and a true friend to those with whom he shared his life.
Jerry is survived by his sons, Ryan, Todd, and Brent, daughters-in-law, Elizabeth and Mylea, and granddaughter, Corrina, his brother, John, and nieces and nephews, Jody, Becky, Johnny, Jason, Evin, Taylor, and James.
Due to COVID, no in-person memorial services are scheduled at this time. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to ECHO (The Economic Council Helping Others Inc.) at echoinc.org in his memory.