Jerry Sipple or as she was known to thousands that grew up in and around Latonia Baptist Church in Latonia, KY - Miss Jerry. Miss Jerry and her sister Miss Jeannie were the Kindergarten teachers at Latonia Baptist for over 30 years. During that time they taught by brother who was born in 1956 and my youngest nephew, born in 1987.
In that time Jerry and Jeannie touched the lives of many children, of which I am lucky to be a part.
One recurring theme of our relationship was the way her face would light up when she saw me, as if I was the only student she ever had - she would make you feel so incredibly special. In so doing, you were encouraged beyond anything else I had ever experienced. Bear in mind, I didn't see Miss Jerry every month or even every year, but no matter how much I changed, she always knew me and seemed as though I was recently on her mind.
When my sister went to an enrollment meeting in 1994, Miss Jerry informed the room, "we know that today people say adults shouldn't hug and kiss on children. Well, I want you to know that we are going to hug and kiss on your kids if their here." Boy did they! Always affectionate. Most greetings included Miss Jerry grasping my face in her hands to give me a kiss.
One of the things that I'm certain she told every "boy" was, "You're still so handsome!" As she got older her eyesight began to dim. She could see shapes, but no detail any longer. During a recent visit with her I asked her about it. She said, "I can see you're there, but not much else." I assured her I was as handsome as ever. Her hearty laughter ended with, "oh David."
Yesterday I got the news that Miss Jerry had died. It's brings tears as I write. This woman made such an investment in my life. I was only six years old, but my memories of being in their kindergarten class still remain as some of my most fond. Why would that be? I believe it's because she always focused on loving whomever she was with at the moment. She was my hero for that reason, among others.
Miss Jerry you were a wonderful inspiration to many, thank you.
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