Jerry Dean Ledbetter


(August 10, 1935 – January 27, 2023)

Jerry Dean Ledbetter, also known as Coach, 87, passed away on January 27, 2023, in Dublin, Tx. Jerry was born on August 10, 1935, in Van, Texas, to Wiley Thelmer (W.T.) and Brittie Ann (Gipson) Ledbetter.

Jerry grew up in the Rio Grande Valley and attended Pan American College (now known as The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley) in Edinburg, Texas, where he graduated with a Bachelor’s in Physical Education and a minor in Math.  He also graduated from Marine Officer Candidate School before earning his Master’s in Administrative Education with a minor in math from Southwest Texas State (now Texas State University) in San Marcos, Texas.  While in school, Jerry played football, basketball, ran track, and competed in long jump, high jump, and pole vault.  He was named All-Southwestern right end, Honorable Mention All-State in football, was co-captain of his track and basketball teams, qualified for the Olympics, and bettered Mexico’s high jump record.

While at college, Jerry met the love of his life, Emma Jayne Jeske.  They married on April 19, 1957, in San Juan, Texas, and had two children, daughter Laura Lea Gonzales and son Larry Lee Ledbetter.

Jerry taught high school math for 14 years, coached for 12 years (six of those in Dublin, Texas), and taught college math at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, for three years.  Following his retirement from teaching and coaching, he owned and operated a dairy business in Dublin, Texas, for 21 years before moving on to his next adventure as owner/operator of Twin Dikes Marina in Jasper, Texas, for the next 15 years.  He and his wife, Jayne, retired to Nacogdoches, Texas, in 2003.

Jerry loved fishing and golf, but especially loved playing card games with his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  He often tried to use his blue/green colorblindness to win at UNO, although his great-grandchildren were the first to call him out on his sneaky ways.  Jerry also loved to make everyone groan with his puns, “dad jokes,” and constant singing of “Lord, it’s hard to be humble…when you’re perfect in every way!”

Jerry is survived by his daughter Laura Gonales and her husband Bob, of Dublin, Texas; son Larry Ledbetter and his wife, Joanna, of Mena, Arkansas; seven grandchildren: Jamie Sanders, and wife Alison, of Proctor, Texas, Staci King, and husband Jason, of Dublin, Texas, Elijah Gonzales of Dublin, Texas, Rodie Johnston, and wife Bonnie, of Iredell, Texas, Brandy Ruedas of Gustine, Texas, Blake Ledbetter of Nacogdoches, Texas, and Justin Ledbetter of Nacogdoches, Texas; 18 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren. 

Jerry was preceded in death by his wife, Jayne Ledbetter; his parents, W.T. and Brittie Ledbetter; a brother Wylie Thelmer Jr (Snuffy) Ledbetter; two sisters, Helen Louise Grimes and Gladys Marie Holton; and special friend Doris St Mary Saunders.

The family will have a memorial celebrating Jerry at a later date.  Memorials may be made in Jerry’s memory to The American Alzheimer’s Association or the American Cancer Society.

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