First Sergeant Jerry Swindell Jennette

Published 2:15 pm Friday, February 24, 2023

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First Sergeant Jerry Swindell Jennette reported for duty in heaven on February 19, 2023. He left behind 36 years of distinguished military service in both Vietnam and the North Carolina Army National Guard.

A funeral service will be held on Wednesday, March 1 at 11 a.m. at Grace Anglican-Lutheran Church, 1776 N. Market Street immediately followed by a military graveside service across the street in Oakdale Cemetery. A visitation will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Tuesday, February 28 at Joseph B. Paul Jr. Funeral Home.

Jerry was born and raised in Beaufort County. His parents were Apply Jane “Shorty” Alligood and Ivia Thomas Jennette. He joined the Army when he was 17 and turned 18 in Vietnam. While serving as an 82 Air Borne Combat Engineer in Vinh Long Vietnam, he earned three Bronze Service Stars and was promoted to Sergeant by the end of his tour. During his many years in the Guard, he participated in numerous hurricane duties (most notably Hurricanes Hugo and Floyd) and was called to active duty in Operation Desert Storm. First Sergeant Jennette was a truly gifted mechanic and was recognized across the state for acing his shop inspections. He was also in the first American-Moldovan Exercise – Blue Shield 99 where he became great friends with Colonel Alexandr “Sasha” Thoric. First Sergeant Jennette retired from military service in 2005 and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for his “outstanding leadership, strong work ethic, and superior technical knowledge.” He loved his Guard family and remained close to them throughout his retirement.

Jerry married Judy Meier Jennette on Thanksgiving Day in 1991. Jerry was supportive of his wife’s work and volunteer activities, especially her 20 years on Washington City Council. He would introduce himself as “The First Man of Washington” during her two terms as mayor. He was her biggest cheerleader when she returned to ECU to earn her master’s degree.

Jerry is survived by his brother Ivia Jennette, his children; Isaac Thomas Jennette, Jason Scott Jennette, and grandson John Jennette. He was preceded in death by his sisters Alice Pearl Johnson, Onnie Nixon, JoAnn Asby, and Betty Lou “Boots” Gardner.

Joseph B. Paul Jr. Funeral Service is honored to serve the Jennette family.