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Friday, May 5, 2023
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Friday, May 5, 2023
2:00 - 3:00pm (Central time)
Gerald Raymond Norcross, 87, of Carmi, passed away on Tuesday, April 4, 2023. He was born on November 7, 1935, in Villisca, Iowa, the son of Donald R. and Ruby Maxine (Rupp) Norcross. Jerry married Linda Fay (Oliver) Cummins on June 15, 1983, and she survives. He enlisted in the Air Force in 1953. Missiles were a new career field and Lowry Air Force base in Aurora, Colorado had the Air Force's only Guided Missile Program. After basic training, he was selected to be in the missile program and trained at Lowry on the Matador TM61B missile. Jerry helped write the material for the courses and went on to instructor training school to teach those courses. In 1955, the Air Force wanted to start a school for the new GAR-1 Falcon air to air missile. He was with a select group chosen to go to Hughes Aircraft in California for six months of factory training. After coming back to Lowry, Jerry, along with nine other service members and five civilians wrote the courses and started the Guidance System courses for the Falcon missile. He became a master instructor at this time also.
In 1957, Jerry had to decide whether to re-enlist or take advantage of the GI bill and go to college. Since he got credits toward an engineering degree for his missile training and his training degree from Hughes Aircraft, Jerry decided to go to college at C.U. Boulder and get his electrical engineering degree. While still in school, he worked for a time at Martin Aerospace Plant in Denver on the Titan I and II missiles. However, his love was the Air Force, and he went back to work as a missile instructor, hiring in as a civil servant GS9 back at Lowry Air Force base. With Lowry, he went to Martin Company in Baltimore, Maryland for a four-month factory training course on the Mace TM76B missile and then back to Lowry to help build the Mace missile program.
Jerry went to school in California to learn about down range testing and added that to the courses on instrumentation at Lowry. Later he taught the AIM-10 sidewinder air to air interceptor missile. Over time, and with promotions, he left teaching and moved into management as a GS12 Training Manager, he oversaw courses on safety, disaster, preparedness, explosive ordnance disposal, instrumentation and nuclear. Jerry ended his career as a GS13, Chief in Charge of all training managers. He described this as being like a superintendent of a school in charge of all the teaching courses.
Jerry's whole career was spent at Lowry Air Force base in Aurora, Colorado, and between his four years of active service and his civil service career of 34 years, he spent 38 years with the Air Force. Like Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump, Jerry would recite his family's history in the military. He would tell any young person that was interested in joining the military, to join the Air Force. Jerry said that they had better food and didn't have to sleep on the ground.
He was very patriotic and if grandpa was attending the Veterans Memorial Day event at the City Park, it was strongly advised that the grandkids and great-grandkids attend as well. Grandkids learned to take their shoes off at the door and turn shirts inside out to hide certain logos, otherwise they and their parents would get a lecture from grandpa. Trying to find greeting cards made in the USA, could take up a whole day of shopping and going from store to store. Where the card was made, sometimes, would trump what the card said.
In his lifetime, Jerry was blessed with two loving fathers and paid it forward in his own blended family, loving everyone equally. You don't realize what a big part of your life someone is, until after they're gone, and you have to figure out how to fill that void. His family is very proud of his life of service and his part in our lives. We all love him and miss him already.
In addition to his wife, Linda “Lin” (Oliver) Cummins, Jerry is survived by his children, Greg (Sharrell) Norcross, Ken (Laura) Cummins, Deanna (Matt) Luchs, Deborah Morris, LeAnne (Ralph) Hosmer and Blythe Cummins; grandchildren, Jeremy (Julie) Norcross, Joshua (Marissa) Norcross, Caleb (Mikayla) Norcross, Austin Norcross, Sarah Flores-Norcross, Jonathan (Vanessa) Phillips, Nicole Callnon, Devin, Emily, Trinity and Thor Hosmer, Kylie and Kennady Cummins, Kayla Nelson, Trevor (Savanna) Nelson, and Cody Nelson; great-grandchildren, Michelle Middleton, Beth Lugo, Heaven, Jenson, Anya and Ari Norcross, Jacob, Logan, LeAnne Callnon, Chase and Colton Phillips, Kingston Hosmer, Brynnleigh Nelson, Gunner Cruse, and Dallas Nelson; and a brother, Jim (Connie) Courcier. He is preceded in death by his parents; his step-father, Everett Courcier; infant son Ward T. Norcross sons, Eric R. Norcross, David B. Norcross; and a sister, Joyce Alexander.
Celebration of Life services with Millitary Honors for Jerry Norcross will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, May 5, 2023 at Campbell Funeral Home in Carmi, IL, Family and friends may visit from 1:00 p.m. until the time of service.Other Celebration of Life services will be held at later dates in Iowa, and Colorado. Campbell Funeral Home in Carmi is assisting the family with arrangements.