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Jerry DeHay '62 June 26, 2023 10:47 AM updated: June 26, 2023 11:13 AM

Jerry Marvin DeHay 
November 21, 1939 - June 23, 2023 

Jerry Marvin DeHay, age 83 of Brownwood, went to his eternal home on Friday, June 23, 2023.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 27, 2023, at the First Baptist Church in Brownwood. A private burial for the family will follow. Visitation will be held from 5:00 – 7:00 pm, on Monday, June 26, 2023, at the funeral home. Arrangements are under the direction of Blaylock Funeral Home of Brownwood.

Jerry was born November 21, 1939, at Memorial Hospital in Brownwood, Texas to Marvin Edward DeHay and Willie Marie “Bill” DeHay. He was their only child. Jerry attended Coggin Ward and Brownwood Junior High and graduated from Brownwood High School in 1958. In junior high school he was active in athletics and choir. He served as President of the Eisenhower Chapter of the National Honors Society and the Acapella Choir. Jerry was elected Most Likely to Succeed and was selected as a member the All-State Choir and lettered in track as a hurdler. The summer following his junior year he was selected by the American Legion to be a representative from Brown County to Boys State at the University of Texas.

Upon graduation from BHS with the aid of Dorothy Maclntosh, Jerry was awarded a voice scholarship to Baylor University. After two years he transferred to Texas A&M University to pursue a degree in electrical engineering. At that time, he married Dana Lea Laxson and they lived in married student housing at Texas A&M. After taking his first engineering course during the summer he found that engineering was not what he expected, and he failed the course for the first time in his life. After conversations with several advisors and friends he changed his major to business and finally, in 1962, Jerry graduated from Texas A&M with a BBA in Marketing.

One of the first things Jerry did when got to Texas A&M was to audition for and gain acceptance to the Singing Cadets with whom he sang until he graduated. He served as the music director at Reliance Baptist Church.

Jerry interviewed with numerous companies on campus during his senior year. He received several job offers but accepted a position as a soap salesman for Procter & Gamble stationed in Corpus Christi, Texas. He and Dana and their newborn son, David Eugene moved to Corpus Christi and later bought a house there. During their time in Corpus Christi Jerry and Dana added a daughter, Deanna Kay to their family.

After almost four years with Proctor & Gamble where he had impressed his District Manager in Houston, he was awarded the first ever leave of absence to return to Texas A&M University to get an MBA. He worked as a graduate assistant to the Director of Development for the University and upon completion of his MBA in 1966 was offered a faculty position of Instructor in the Marketing Department. After consulting with his Proctor & Gamble District Manager, Jerry decided to give teaching a try and his lifelong career in higher education began.

After three years Jerry was told that because the College of Business Administration was trying to attain accreditation by the National Association of Collegiate Schools of Business his contract would not be renewed due to NACSB requirements that all faculty members have doctoral degrees. After visiting several other schools Jerry accepted a position as Assistant Professor at Howard Payne University (HPU) and the family moved back to Brownwood. During his four years at HPU Jerry was elected President of the Faculty Senate and worked extensively with Larry Crisman, Sports Information Director, in keeping statistics and writing press releases on athletics. He also served as the Faculty Representative to the NAIA for the university. Jerry and Dana divorced during this time and Jerry decided to return to graduate school to pursue a PhD. Jerry was accepted into the doctoral program at North Texas State University. He needed employment and went to see his long-time friend, Dr. Don Newberry, who was Vice President of Tarrant County Junior College (TCJC) in Fort Worth and asked if there were any open teaching positions in business administration. He referred to the head of the mid-management program at the Northeast Campus. They were looking for someone to be in charge of the food marketing program and Jerry’s experience with the grocery industry during his time with Proctor & Gamble plus his degrees in marketing and management made him the ideal candidate and he was hired to direct that program and teach all the courses involved. He located his former college roommate at Baylor University and moved in with him as he began teaching at TCJC.

Later, Jerry married Marilyn Ann Barrow and became stepfather to her children, Colin, Beva, and Sue. They became a blended family along with David and Deanna. They purchased a home in Keller, Texas and Jerry completed his PhD and continued his teaching career for over 40 years. During his teaching career Jerry taught at Texas A&M University, HPU, TCJC, East Texas State University, Hardin Simmons University, and Tarleton State University plus one year at the Texas State Juvenile Detention Center at Brownwood.

He also was the author and presenter of a series on marketing in an educational series on PBS called Business File. At various intervals in his academic career, Jerry worked as a ranch hand, radio advertising salesman, radio station manager, newspaper editor, and private consultant training managers for companies such as 3M, Texas Instruments, US Brass, and Kroger. He and Marilyn opened the first Christian bookstore in Stephenville and called it Revelations which Marilyn managed. Later they got into the antiques and collectibles business with a store called Recollections in Early plus they were regular dealers at Canton First Monday Trade Days for many years. Ultimately, they specialized in dealing in antique clothing and uniform buttons and became one of the largest button dealers in the country with the assistance of their daughter, Sue. Jerry also provided free consultation and workshops to well over 1,000 small businesses of all kinds. He established one of the first small Business Development Centers in Texas at Tarleton. In addition, he taught in the Southwest Graduate School of Banking for 25 years. Jerry was instrumental in the creation of the Texas Institute for Applied Environmental Research at Tarleton State University in 1991 and also was employed by them as a research consultant after his retirement.

Jerry was very active in the music ministry of many churches singing in the choir and ensembles and served as interim or full-time music director at every church he was a member of from the time he graduated high school until he became a member of First Baptist Church in Stephenville and after retirement at First Baptist Church in Brownwood.

Jerry’s life involved a number of leadership positions including appointments and elected positions. He was appointed to department head and then associate dean and the founding dean of the College of Business Administration at Tarleton State University. Under his leadership the COBA was one of the first 10 programs accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). Jerry was elected to the Brownwood ISD Board, the Mullin ISD Board, and the Brownwood City Council where he served 12 years. He was elected President of the Brown County Museum of History Board and was in charge of the reopening of the Museum in 1995. Jerry was appointed as the representative for the City of Brownwood to the West Central Texas Council of Governments for 12 years and served two years as its President. He was appointed to the Dean’s Advisory Council at the College of Business Administration at Tarleton and to the Board of Directors of the Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom at HPU. He also served on various committees and councils locally including Retail Advisory Committee, Brownwood Tourism Advisory Board, and Brown County EMS Advisory Committee. He was elected as a member of the Board of Directors on the National Button Society (NBS) and was co-chairman of NBS Publicity and Public Relations and served a term as President of the Texas State Button Society. He also served a term as National President of Pi Sigma Epsilon, National Professional Marketing Society, and Chairman of the Regional Advisory Board of the Small Business Administration.

Jerry received numerous awards and recognitions throughout his career. He was selected as Outstanding Educator of the South and Southwest, Outstanding Educator of America, Outstanding American of the Bi-Centennial Era, Delta Sigma Pi, Mu Kappa Tau, Marquis: Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World, Lifetime Achievement Award Who’s Who in America.

Jerry enjoyed hunting and fishing with friends, his children, and grandchildren. He had special times with his grandsons, Chris and John Ford going to football and basketball games at Texas A&M University and major league baseball games including the World Series when the Texas Rangers played. He was a lifelong Brownwood Lions fan and was on the school board when Gordon Wood Stadium was built. People were offered the opportunity to purchase options on seats and Jerry’s dad picked out two. Jerry continually purchased season tickets for those two seats every year until 2022. He enjoyed playing golf and fast-pitch softball. In his later years he enjoyed communicating with many friends on Facebook.

Jerry and Marilyn enjoyed traveling all over the country to be dealers at button shows. They enjoyed many riverboat cruises and visited many beautiful places. Most special was their tour of Scotland and Ireland and enjoying the culture and historic sites as well as the food and lovely countryside. In later years they enjoyed having family and friends at their lake house on Possum Kingdom Lake.

Jerry and Marilyn would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on July 27, 2023.

He is survived by his wife, Marilyn Lethco DeHay; children, Deanna Kay Koelzer, Colin Barrow, Beva Adams, and Sue Wall; grandchildren, Jeffrey McEntyre, Jessica McEntyre, Michael Koelzer, Jennifer Koelzer, Chris Loudamy, and John Ford Wall; five great grandchildren, and numerous cousins and their families.

Jerry was preceded in death by his parents, Marvin and Bill DeHay, and his son, David Eugene.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to the Texas A&M University Silver Taps Association of Former Students (505 George Bush Drive, College Station, Texas 77840-2918) or the Salvation Army (403 Lakeway Drive, Brownwood, Texas 76801).


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