Local Businessman & Community Leader Remembered By Friends

Jerry Wall was a long time business man and community leader that had an impact on our community for decades. Wall passed recently and is remembered by those he influenced in his long career here in Bond County that included over 50 years with Wall Real Estate.

Robert Ellsworth said he started with Jerry in 1993 with just a pager, and “The first day, Jerry took me to a vacant home that was for sale and asked me to tell him about this house. I was like a deer in the headlights. Jerry took me under his wing from that point forward and showed me the ropes.”

Click below to hear Robert Ellsworth, owner of Wall Real Estate, remember Jerry:

More of Robert’s recollections about Jerry:

Jerry had many life stories that he shared. One of my favorites is when Jerry was a young man, he bought a Willy’s Jeep, put a field sprayer in the back. Jerry was going to spray fields for a living. Well, Jerry and his dad, Clarence Wall, were driving that Willy Jeep across a muddy field. Mud was flying twenty feet in the air. Jerry’s dad said, “Jerry, if you stop, you’re stuck.” Jerry and I used that saying a lot, even today. Jerry was involved in Carlisle Rubber land purchase, Sigma ground purchase, Greenville Airport. Jerry was a “can-do person.”

Jerry sold every house at least twice, maybe three times, over his 58-year career in real estate. Jerry was one of the last great Bond County Realtors, with Paul Bunyard, Mary Martin, Chet Shank. Best Business Lesson: Jerry was at the Bond County Fair in the early days. It was a hot day in August. Jerry had a listing of 40 acres west of Greenville.

He had caught up with a farmer to buy that land. It was a very big deal in the 1960’s. Jerry verbally put the deal together, but he had no “pen” to get signatures. Jerry said, “Well, we’ll sign on Monday after the fair. Something happened over the weekend. Jerry never got the deal done. Rough Times Lesson: “Always carry a pen with you.” Jerry kept a small, 3-inch pen in his pants pocket from then on.

Rex Catron called Jerry Wall a pilot with a realtor’s license, as Wall’s love of flying was a huge part of his life. Rex recalls Jerry’s huge impact on the airport and the airport authority where he served on the board for almost 20 years, and his enthusiasm for flying and helping others.

Rex told the following story about his building a small airplane completely from a kit by hand and when he was done Jerry didn’t hesitate to be his test pilot of the TEAM Eros plane.

In the spring of 1996, I had just completed my master’s degree and decided to reward myself by building, what I hoped to be, the first of three airplanes. After doing some research I decided on a little all wood single place airplane kit called a TEAM Eros. Jerry was at my shop when it arrived. After getting the three crates in my shop I removed the lid off the first box. It contained a significant selection of various sizes of aircraft wood. Jerry, who as far as I know, was not particularly handy or mechanical, took one look at this box of sticks, and said with all sincerity, “Put the lid back on it and send it back!” I thought it was funny, but I think he was serious.

Jerry would regularly stop by to check on my progress and to inspect. Somewhere through the process I read an article which suggested that you not make the first test flight yourself. It was the opinion of the writer that should something go wrong during the first flight you will try to save the airplane and likely get yourself killed. That made sense to me so I asked Jerry if he would be my test pilot. Without hesitation he agreed.

On October 30, 1996, my little creation was deemed safe, airworthy, and very shortly after that Jerry took to the air in my little project. He never indicated that he was nervous, but I sure was! One of my best friends was in the air in something I built.

The test flight went perfectly. When Jerry had safely landed, he made a couple of minor suggestions which I quickly incorporated.

One of Jerry’s passions was piloting the parachute jumper’s plane. He decided that I needed that experience too, so he arranged and paid for me to do a tandem jump. And, of course, he was the pilot.

Just after I left the airplane as we did a summersault, I remember looking back up at the plane which was moving away very quickly and thinking to myself “What has Wall gotten me into this time?”

Jerry Wall had a big impact on the business landscape of Bond County and helped many families find new homes.

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