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(04/03/1929 - 05/08/2013)
Jerry Walbrun was born on April 3, 1929 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Following his time in the Army Air Corp, Jerry earned his degree from Marquette University in Milwaukee. Shortly after graduation, he married his college sweetheart, Marion, and began his professional career with the Buick Division of General Motors. While at Buick, Jerry enjoyed great success and took an early retirement in 1987 after 35 years.
While with Buick, Jerry pioneered the 38 year relationship with EAA, beginning with ten new Buicks for use at the 1962 EAA Convention. Through this time, Jerry owned a P-51, two T-28s, a PT-19, a BT-13, and purchased his well-known (and eventual Warbird’s Grand Champion) T-6 in 1964.
Jerry’s long time association with the Warbirds organization began in the late 1960s. It was Jerry who, while Warbirds founder Walt Olrich was deployed in Vietnam, helped move the organization under the wing of EAA in 1967.
Following his career with Buick, Jerry embarked on what he always viewed as the capstone to his career when he joined the Experimental Aircraft Association in Oshkosh. It was at EAA that Jerry was able to combine the vocation with the avocation, which enabled him to spend each day working at an organization that was the embodiment of who he was.
When Jerry retired from the EAA, he and Marion moved to Ocala, Florida in 1995, where he continued to serve as an officer of many aviation groups: Warbirds of America, EAA Chapter 812, The Florida Aero Club, and the General Motors Retiree Club. He also served several terms on the board of the Ocala Airport.
Jerry pursued his love of Warbirds in retirement. He restored a PT-19, ‘cloned’ his model C T-6 with a model G, and for the first time in his aviation career, bought a ‘civilian’ airplane, a Cessna 182.
Jerry flew in many airshows in the northeast with the “6 of Diamonds” and led the T-6 formation groups at Oshkosh and Sun ’n Fun in Lakeland, Florida. He also participated in the small group of Leeward Air Ranch T-6’s that performed many flyovers for military funerals and Veterans Day celebrations.
Jerry passed away at home at the age of 84 on May 8, 2013 and is survived by his wife, Marion. Jerry loved and took great pride in his four children, Mark (Laurie) Walbrun, Jane (Tommy) Cocke, Kay (Dan) Barclay, Steve (Karin) Walbrun and eight grandchildren, Dan, Sr. Mariana Rose and David Walbrun, Adam Cocke, Glenn and Steven Asplin, and Scott and Tom Walbrun.
His passion for aviation and love of the freedom of the skies will live on in the countless friendships he enjoyed in his lifetime.
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