Jerry Ross Locke, age 83, a longtime resident of Maury County, passed away on May 13, 2023, in Columbia, Tennessee. Jerry was born in Shelbyville, Tennessee, on July 31, 1939, to Everett Ross Locke and Sarah Mai Stephens Locke (later Hoffman). He spent the first half of his childhood in Shelbyville and the remainder in Fayetteville, Tennessee, where he graduated from high school. His father, a longtime Dodge-Plymouth-Chrysler dealer, died when Jerry was 16. Jerry retained an interest in cars.
Jerry earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and an educational specialist degree in Georgia. He was an educator in Tennessee and Georgia public schools for 42 years and also taught education courses at the college level. He taught history, American government, and English at Hay Long High School in Mount Pleasant; and history and American government at Columbia’s Central High School, where, along with his close friends and fellow teachers Claude Craig and Page Chamberlain, he was a legend. Jerry’s time at Central was a special period in his life.
In 1971, Jerry began work as an assistant principal at Marietta High School in Marietta, Georgia, and later was a longtime, beloved principal at Banberry Elementary School and A.L. Burruss Elementary School in Marietta. Burruss became a National School of Excellence under his leadership.
Jerry earned a number of education awards and was much loved by students and teachers he worked with. He was a shy person yet spent his career before the public. Upon his retirement in 2002, he and his wife moved back to Columbia after 31 years in the Atlanta area.
Jerry loved card and board games and college football. He was a major Tennessee Volunteers fan and was often in the stands. He enjoyed history, politics, reading, gardening, cats, birds, and jigsaw puzzles. He learned several crafts and always had something going. He never stopped learning or teaching others. Above all, he was a devoted dad and granddad.
Jerry is survived by his wife, Donna Hanvy Locke; son, Brooke Locke of Powder Springs, Georgia; daughter, Maria Locke of Decatur, Georgia; grandchildren, Rachel Locke, Everett Locke, Roxanna Clayton, and Cash Clayton of Georgia; daughter-in-law, Stephanie Locke; son-in-law, Ben Clayton; nephews, Dr. Michael Isaacson and Andy Cline; nieces, Sarah Ann Menkel and Allison Dunaway; and brother-in-law, Kevin Hanvy. He is also survived by longtime friend-like-a-brother Bob Riddle of Murfreesboro, and cat children Tammy, Katie, and Joey. He leaves behind many special friends he worked with in Georgia.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his sisters, Virginia Locke Isaacson and Mildred “Dolly” Locke Cline; his mother-in-law, Betty Davis; his sister-in-law, Sheryl Hanvy; father-in-law, Jeff Hanvy, Jr.; and his other longtime friend-like-a-brother, Claude Craig. His special friends Page Chamberlain and Tom Kirk also preceded him in death.
There will be no public services. The family will gather privately. Williams Funeral Home & Crematory is assisting the family with arrangements.