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12-12-2009 11:37 AM -- By: Sherry Waldvogel, From: Clemson, SC
I am Sherry Waldvogel, Jerry's wife. I would like to sincerely thank Kelly Smith for setting up this website and thank everyone who put entries into this guest book. It has meant so much to the Waldvogel family and given us a chance to know him even better. As I listened at the Memorial Service, read hundreds of letters, read the guest book entries, and slowly removed things from his office, I was amazed at how many lives he touched and how he made each of us feel special.
We met when he crashed a family get-together in North Carolina at Will and one of my sister's house. I was a fire ecologist with the Nature Conservancy; perfectly content with my single, tomboyish status. Everything changed the day we met and I shamelessly chased him down like a young teenager. We were a good match. We both loved birds and butterflies, so he taught me the names of birds I couldn't identify, and I planted a myriad of flowers, shrubs, and trees that would attract them. We both wanted everything to be organized and we got things done like a well-oiled machine.
I worked for the U.S. Forest Service with the Threatened and Endangered Species group, and eventually along came our daughter, Sarah. Changes needed to be made. I was consumed with being the best mother I could be, but worried about not returning to work. Jerry loved Sarah so much and told me my staying home with her was a debt he could never repay. He was always there for us when we needed him, yet he rarely said no to teaching a new course, helping with organizations across the country, helping with committee work, or taking Sarah's friends on wonderful adventures. Multitasking for me means juggling three things at once. Jerry was so enthused and interested in other people, and in making a better world for the next generation, that he never shyed away from challenges; the amount he juggled seemed endless.
Jerry guided me through my obsessive overprotective mother stage and taught me to see the big picture instead of "sweating the little things." His big smile, sense of humor, and laid back personality were infectious. He was a born teacher, always telling Sarah and I, "wouldn't it be easier if...," sure if you were 6'2" and 225 lb. We were blessed with scientific facts about new animal species we encountered on our trips together. The beach trip Sarah and took following his death was sadly empty of sea life descriptions. I feel blessed to have known someone so jovial, confident, and inquisitive about the world; someone with a strong sense of fairness. We miss you so much Jerry, but know that your light still shines through Sarah, who is becoming more like you every day. We love you.
11-29-2009 9:30 PM -- By: Jessica Parker Griffin, From: Hampstead, NC
Jerry was one of my favorite professors, and so full of life! We could almost always talk him into taking our biology class outside on nice days. He was so dedicated to his students and really took time with us, not just lecturing but encouraging us in independent thought. His talent and personality will be missed at Clemson.
11-19-2009 8:01 PM -- By: Jacqueline Heslop McCook, From: Miami, Florida
I have great memories of Jerry at Stanford...enjoying life and giving so much joy to others to do so too! Jerry you'll be missed...but always with us! Jacqueline
11-16-2009 10:54 AM -- By: susan gilmore, From: san francisco
What a shock. What a blow. Jerry was a freshman dorm buddy at Stanford in that first dizzying college year of 1972. A wonderful playful pal, a gentleman football player (it was possible!), and dear man. My family and I send love and condolences to Jerry's wife and daughter. -Susy Gilmore
11-05-2009 10:14 AM -- By: Ken McKinley, From: Rockport, Maine
I received my Cornell Alumni magazine earlier this week and was shocked to read of Jerry's passing. Although I knew Jerry for only a short period of time, he made an indelible impression on me as an excellent scientist, a gifted educator, and a terrific person.
In 1976, I was a 17 year old freshman at Cornell, and Jerry was just beginning his graduate studies. I had the good fortune of having Jerry as my lab instructor in introductory biology. I was not majoring in biology, and was only taking the course because of a college requirement. My first grade in college was not a very good one, and it was given to me by Jerry on a lab report. It shocked me, since in high school I got good grades all the time, so I arranged to meet with Jerry, and he patiently went through the report with me and told me how I could improve. As a result, I raised my grades on subsequent lab reports to the point where I earned an A on my last one of the semester. To this day, I count that grade as one of the best accomplishments of my college career. Jerry taught me how to analyze and write scientifically.
In a twist of irony, later in my college career Jerry and I crossed paths again. This time, I got to help him. As part of Jerry's graduate work with migratory birds, he took an advanced meteorology course, which was my major. I was able to help him with some of the work in that class, which pleased me greatly. Jerry was smart enough that he would have done fine without my help, but it made me feel good that I could provide some small measure of return for what he had given me.
I had not seen or corresponded with Jerry after I left Cornell in 1980, but I never forgot him. In reading other entries here, i seems that he made a great impression on many of his students through the years, which is no surprise to me. I am glad that I was able to be one of his earliest students.
The post that most impressed me, though, was the one from his daughter. Sarah, even after all these years, I can hear Jerry in your words. I can hear his fun loving nature, I can hear his intelligence, his analytic mind, and I can hear his caring. I have never met you, Sarah, but I can tell by your post that you are a remarkable young woman, and that you will succeed in whatever you do. I am sure that Jerry knows that, too, and for all the accomplishments in his too short life, I would be willing to bet that way above all he was most proud of being your father.
My deepest condolences to Sherry, Sarah, and the rest of Jerry's family and friends.
10-30-2009 2:32 PM -- By: Amy Cianchette Donaghy, From: Maine
I'm am so sorry to hear of Jerry's passing. What a shock and sadness. I send my thoughts and condolences to his loved ones.
10-22-2009 11:06 PM -- By: Jane Thompson Myers, From: Richmond, VA
We just learned of Jerry's death through the Clemson World Magazine and are deeply saddened at his loss for his family and for the Clemson community.
10-11-2009 8:17 PM -- By: Ryan Walker Christian, From: Beaufort, SC
Jerry Waldvogel was my absolute favorite professor at Clemson. I was so deeply saddened to read about his passing in the Clemson World publication. When I was a member of the Student Alumni Council (in 1997?), I nominated him for the Distinguished Professor Award...which he won (hands down) because everyone felt the same way about him as I did. I only knew him for a short time...but what an impact he made on my life and my Clemson experience!!!
10-08-2009 4:42 PM -- By: Nikki Harris, From: Greenville, SC
Jerry Waldvogel was a terrific educator. He kept my attention and taught on a level that isn't matched by many in his profession. I will forever be grateful to him for helping me meet one of my best friends during one of his "get to know your neighbor" introductions on the first day of class. He will be missed!
10-02-2009 8:15 AM -- By: Karen McGlothlin, From: Crossville, TN
Deeply saddened to hear of Dr. Waldvogel's passing. What a terrific and dedicated professor of biology.
10-01-2009 2:00 PM -- By: Shannon Smith, From: Maine
09-29-2009 9:51 PM -- By: Megan Thomas, From: Vero Beach, FL
09-29-2009 3:00 PM -- By: Andrea White, From: Greenwood, SC
Very saddened to learn of Prof. Waldvogel's passing. What an amazing professor of Biology and he continues to impact the way I view aspects of the subject. My sympathies are sent to his family and all who will dearly miss him.
09-29-2009 2:12 PM -- By: Lura Ellenberg Tysiac, From: Anderson, SC
09-26-2009 10:12 PM -- By: Tristen Pietraschke, From: Greenville, SC
Favorite Memory: In Biology 101, Prof. Waldvogel introduced me to one of my now favorite bands, Little Feat, and their song Dixie Chicken.
09-25-2009 11:36 PM -- By: Jan, From: Cornell University
I am so sorry to hear of Jerry's passing. My best wishes go out to his family. My twin sister Jodi and I were students of his class at Cornell and he was just the best professor. He had a very special way of connecting with his students. I liked his laid-back approach to life. Rest in peace Jerry.
09-15-2009 3:41 PM -- By: Julie Grabowski, From: Cary, NC
Although it has been a long time since my Uncle Jerry passed away, I am only now signing his guestbook. My fondest memories of him are flying kites with him, Aunt Sherry, and Sarah on a hill in Clemson as a young child. He helped me and Sarah's kites take flight, and I still remember that day. At the beach, me and Sarah and our cousin Martina always boogie boarded in the waves. Uncle Jerry was always there behind us, telling us to wait, or to start paddling, and always gave someone a big push to help catch the wave. He always said things that made me think, always told the funniest jokes. Always had an answer to my endless questions. I love you and miss you, Uncle Jerry.
09-12-2009 4:54 PM -- By: Taylor , From: Greenville
Thanks for all the great times in class and for presenting new ideas. You change the way I look at everything. Thanks.
09-08-2009 11:18 PM -- By: Sarah Pallas, From: Atlanta, GA
I just heard a few days ago about Jerry's death via colleagues at NCSE. I was shocked and very saddened. Jerry was a friend from Ithaca days, where he always amazed me with his intense passion for spicy food and the Grateful Dead. Since then, my students and I have appreciated his tremendous dedication to the teaching of evolutionary biology. He will be remembered always and greatly missed!
08-24-2009 5:56 PM -- By: , From:
08-19-2009 5:48 PM -- By: Dewitt Ford, From: Gaffney, SC
I'm kind of lost for words now. I just found out from a previous classmate that Professor "Waldo" just passed. Although I disagreed with almost everything he taught at first, he eventually got through to me. He never forced anything on anyone, but just simply stated facts and argued logic, and for that I respect him. He is without a doubt one of the greatest professors to ever grace this campus and he WILL be missed. Goodbye Professor "Waldo". Your legacy will be carried on in all of our hearts, minds, and souls.
08-07-2009 4:20 PM -- By: Denise McIntyre Blase, From: Los Altos, CA
Such a shock to learn of Jerry's passing today! We attended Taft Jr. High and Kearny High School together. My favorite memories of Jerry (aside from watching him lead the Komets to victory after victory our senior year) are from 11th grade when we had a math class together. Our teacher thought he could motivate us by seating us in order of the number of points we earned on tests and somehow Jerry and I always ended up moving together. Whether we moved forward or back, he was always in a good mood and loved to kid around. His sense of humor helped get me through that class.
The last time I spoke with Jerry was at the 30th reunion for Kearny's class of 1972. I'm so glad I was able to see him one last time.
What an amazing life he crammed into such a short life!
My condolences to Jerry's family and friends.
07-28-2009 12:42 PM -- By: Michael Hines, From: San Diego, CA.
In life there are those who stand above the rest of us.
That was my first impression of Jerry from my school days at Taft and Kearny. I can never forget how his intelligence was razor sharp. Jerry was special, as his life and those he touched has bourne out. His time came too soon in this world, but he is now standing above the rest in a new and better world. We are diminished that a truely decent man has left us.
07-24-2009 10:07 PM -- By: Melinda Moore Murphy, From:
I have fond memories of growing up with Jerry. He lived down the street through jr. high and high school. Always such a gentleman, funny and so smart. You are missed!
07-19-2009 9:32 PM -- By: Phil Quist, From:
I just learned of the passing of a great friend and teacher Jerry Waldvogel. My time working with Jerry at Clemson were among some of the best times I ever had. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.
07-18-2009 10:30 PM -- By: Diane Noo, From: Colorado Springs, Co.
I just learned of Jerry's death this afternoon, what a shock. I have watched the Memorial Service and several other clips from this site, what a man he turned out to be! I can see by reading lots of the postings that he wil be very missed by many.
We went to the same high school,class of '72 and I even was lucky enough to be in a class or two with him. He was a really nice guy and funny as I recall. Of course his talent on the football field was great to watch. It's a quick trip down memory lane when one gets news of this nature. It has been a long time. Guess I'll have to start going to the reunions from now on.
This is a sad time for you and your family and for many of us who knew him. May God bless you all with His true peace. Thank you for sharing his life so publically. Diane Noll (formally Beckett) Kearny '72
07-10-2009 1:13 AM -- By: Robert Fathke, From: George Washington University
I was fortunate enough to take Ecology of Animal Behavior on Appledore Island with Dr. Waldvogel during the summer of 2004. He was clearly a very smart man, and more importantly, a very kind man. He allowed us to learn and have a good time while doing it. Few teachers are capable of that. My smpathies are with his family, friends, and loved ones. --Robert Fathke
07-02-2009 1:40 PM -- By: John and Sandy Grabowski, From: Pinson, Al.
So great a loss for so many people. Our prayers are with Sherry and Sarah.
07-02-2009 12:21 PM -- By: Janie Sigmon, From: York Technical College
Dear Sherry and Sarah,
I am so sorry to hear about Jerry's death. What a complete shock! I was a TA and Jerry was a brand new faculty member back in the early 1990s at Clemson. I proctored his lectures and exams for his introductory Biology classes (which I always thoroughly enjoyed) and we taught the same Biology labs. Jerry was a wonderful, witty, exuberant teacher and colleague. I will always remember him fondly. -- Janie Sigmon
07-01-2009 3:44 PM -- By: Amy Brown, From: Columbia, SC
I took Dr. Waldvogel's Enlightenment and Nature class freshman year and it was the best class I have ever taken. I would love to come to class to hear what ideas he would present. He made me think and challenged what I knew. I also liked to hear all of his football stories and every week our class would debate how the Tigers would do at the next game. After changing my major to biology I couldn't wait to take another one of his classes. He was a great teacher and will be missed. He and his family are in my prayers.
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