Jerome Kern Whitney (known by family as “Uncle Rome”), 79, transitioned to be with the Lord Jesus Christ on Tuesday, April 12, 2022. He was born in Charleston, SC to James H. Whitney Sr. and Helen R. Whitney (now Helen R. Ashby) who both predeceased him.
Jerome’s family relocated to Asbury Park, NJ where he became a lifelong resident having lived in the city, for over fifty years. In 1961, Jerome graduated from Asbury Park High School. In 1962, he joined the United States Air Force at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. He received many commendations including the medal of Good Conduct in 1964.
While in the Air Force, he completed several certifications at Air University in Equipment Cooling, Refrigeration, and Sheet Metal Design. He traveled the world while serving in the military, and he was first stationed at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, then Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base in Missouri. During his time in the Air Force, Jerome repaired air-conditioning systems, drafted blueprints, and operated chemical water treatment plants. Jerome also was an operator designer for the electrical power plant at the Air Force Defense Power Plant in Missouri.
Jerome’s leadership, training, and tenacity to serve the United States of America, laid the foundation for his life-long career that begin in 1969 at Jersey Central Power & Light Company (JCP&L). In the beginning of his career at JCP& L, Jerome worked nights to complete his Associates Degree from Brookdale Community College in 1974, followed by his real estate license. His goal while in college was to become a sales engineer of large equipment. He loved systems, operations, and drawing and design. Jerome had a passion for understanding how large systems worked. During his tenure at JCP&L, Jerome was involved in almost every aspect of the electric industry from design, operation, and developments of systems. His designs improved the safety and quality conditions for towns throughout the service region for JCP&L.
Jerome or “Jerry” as he was affectionally called in his second-floor office at his tall draftsman’s desk, was a JCP&L legend. His bosses always called him to conduct field surveys after an accident, fire, or national disaster. Jerome also used his love for drawing and design to draw logos for JCP&L events, his union, and his family. During his 40-year career in the Circuit Management Group of the Technical Engineering & Drafting Department at JCP&L he received many awards, promotions, and commendations. The many accolades from his peers, supervisors and support staff noted his distinct character, precision, and quality of his work.
Jerome was an active member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) while at JCPL. Among his many achievements at JCP&L was work in the community and his commitment to seeing more diversity in the electrical field. For example, he served on the planning board for JCP&L’s first diversity day in 1996, for which he received an award for his contributions and leadership. In 2004, Jerome retired from JCP&L and focused primarily on his family, friends, and veterans.
Following retirement, Jerome spent lots of time with his family, driving to the ocean, and eating seafood from Kleins fish market, a sub from Serpico’s or playing the daily lottery. He loved his trucks. Jerome was always reliable and giving his last to help his family and friends, fixing things, shopping, or giving a ride to someone when they needed it. As the Commanders of the Disabled Americans Veterans Association D.A.V. say, “Whitney would give you the shirt of his back”.
Jerome served as a founding member and Officer of the Day at the D.A.V. Chapter 85 of the James A. Pritchard Memorial. He was a committed contributor to helping build the local chapter of the D.A.V to provide support to other disable veterans because of their service in the Military. He was also a member and contributor at the Elks. Jerome loved spending his time with the kids in his family. Specifically, Jerome loved to spend time with his other half, his great nephew Zaire. They would often go to the park, drive around town, shop, grab a bite to eat, attend boxing, or doing anything Zaire wanted to do. Zaire supported his Uncle Rome as he would make his travels, do shopping, or attend doctors’ appointments. They would rarely be seen without one another.
Jerome K. Whitney was a man of the highest degree of loyalty, integrity, and faith. His commitment to his family never wavered and he rarely said NO to anyone. He was selfless and always there when anyone needed him. After years of military, civilian and community service Jerome leaves his armor of valor to all that loved and knew him.
He is survived by his sisters, MaryAnne Ashby-Dougherty of Neptune, NJ and Helena Ashby of Virginia; nieces, Tracy Whitney of Neptune, NJ and Mercedes McElrath of Tinton Falls, NJ; nephew, Dr. James H. Whitney III of Piscataway, NJ; great nieces, Candace Lester of Toms River, NJ, Jada Whitney of Piscataway, NJ, and Phoenix Hexstall of Tinton Falls, NJ; great nephews, James H. Whitney IV of Piscataway, NJ, and Zaire McKellar of Tinton Falls, NJ; great-great niece, Destinee Lester of Toms River, NJ; great-great nephews, Aiden Lester, Elijah Roberts, and Zion Orford of Toms River, NJ; and a host of friends, family, committed veterans of the D.A.V., and the United States Military.