The Passing of Giants of the Human Spirit: Brother Jerry King
April 28, 2017 by Herbert Daughtry
Before I address Part Two of Jerry King, I attended another funeral in Jersey City, NJ on Monday, April 24, 2017. His name was Jimmy Jamar Gregory. He was only 19. The alleged killer is also a teenager. A killing happens almost every week in Jersey City.
Back to Brother Jerry King
Jerry was generous to a fault – if that’s possible. Every morning, a woman pauper who sits daily on the corner would come to the church. Jerry always had a dollar or two, or maybe more, to give to her, even when he didn’t have anything himself.
At his funeral on Friday, April 21, 2017, his sister said that the last time she saw him, she realized that his pockets were empty. She gave him a few dollars. He gave the money to the woman pauper. After his death, she searched among his belongings, and found $55. His sister arranged to give $2 to the woman pauper every time she knocked on the church’s door. She explained, “That is what Jerry would have wanted me to do with the little money I found in his possession.”
Jerry was exceptionally computer literate. He would get most of his news via the internet. He was knowledgeable concerning current events. He had sharp, analytical mind. Whatever needed to be done, Jerry was eager and ready for the task. He swept the floors, set up the chairs for special events, put out the garbage cans, helped to maintain supplies, helped moved equipment, set the speaker system for special events and the screen for the videos he would show from time to time. He also helped with the maintenance of the church. You name it, Jerry did it.
In addition, he took care of my books. On occasion, he would help transport the books from place to place, and even helped with the sales. He did the news clippings and filings, and reproduced them for special mailing. (Every week, I write articles which deal with “Soul & Spirit,” “Race & Politics,” and “Mind & Health.” Some of these articles are published in the Daily Challenge.)
Jerry was also a researcher. He did much of my research on various issues and people. His mind or memory was a prodigious reservoir of old songs, poems, events, issues, and people. He was so helpful in many ways. Even more, he participated with us in marches, rallies, boycotts, and press conferences. Whenever and wherever I needed him, he would eagerly answer the call. Moreover, he would willingly go on errands. It didn’t matter how near or far, whether via public transportation or private cars. It just didn’t matter to him whether the errand had to secure some package or some printing – but always, he would eagerly hasten to the task.
He had a sense of humor, too. In fact, he tried his hand at being a comedian. He had appearances in some of the local small clubs. It calls to mind what has been said that humorists/comedians are rather brilliant people. Another quality that has been suggested is the courage to face reality – “Nothing in a man is more serious than his sense of humor. It is a sign that he wants all of the truth.”
Yet, because he was so unobtrusive, we would forget that he was present. He never forced himself upon an event, issue, or a crowd. He was always withdrawn. He had to be called into a meeting, gathering, or light conversation.
When I look around at the church, and as anyone, who has been here, knows it is veritable museum. There are pictures of practically everybody. When I came to the church the next morning, I looked for his picture. Among all the pictures, there was only one small photo of him at a press conference with Borough President Eric Adams regarding the police killing of Mr. Ousmane Zongo in 2003. As of this writing (5:30pm on Friday, April 14, 2017), it is the only picture that I found of Jerry.
For me, it will be a long time before I forget or come face-to-face with the reality that Jerry is gone. He will not be at the church at 5am in the morning when I arrive. The cones will not be out. The newspapers will not be prepared for me. I will not see his face, almost asking, “What can I do next?”
I will always remember him with gratitude, appreciation, and humor. I will remember him with some regrets, too. I regret that I didn’t tell him enough how much I loved and appreciated him, and how super important he was to our entire ministry.
I say in the words of Shakespeare, “Good night, sweet prince. May angels sing you to your rest”; and, the Apostle Paul: Jerry, “you fought the good fight, you have finished the race, you have kept the faith. From now on, the crown of righteousness is laid up for you.”