Jerry L. TitusDecember 24, 1947 ~ October 4, 2017 (age 69)
Jerry L. Titus, 69, passed away on Wednesday, October 4th at 2:10 p.m. in Fort Wayne’s Lutheran Hospital after only a 16-day battle with cancer. Jerry was proud to be a lifetime Warsaw, Indiana resident.
Jerry was born on December 24, 1947 in Warsaw to Ned C. and Maryon L. (Circle) Titus. He was the elder of two sons and was raised alongside his brother, David. As soon as was able, Jerry worked odd jobs at the funeral home. Jerry graduated as a proud Warsaw High School Tiger in 1966 and went on to attend Indiana University – Purdue University, Fort Wayne (IPFW). He also attended Grace College.
Called to serve his country, Jerry was a United States Army Veteran who served in the Vietnam War. He was deployed in the demilitarized zone and functioned as a radar setup operator. SP4 Jerry Lewis Titus was honorably discharged from the Army on November 22, 1971.
With his military duties fulfilled, Jerry returned to the area and attended Indiana College of Mortuary Science, Indianapolis, following in the footsteps of his father and great-uncle who were also funeral directors. Jerry earned an Associate Degree from Indiana College of Mortuary Science (Indianapolis) in 1974 and joined the family firm, Titus Funeral Home, where he worked alongside his father for nearly twenty more years. Due to Ned’s arising health issues the funeral home was sold to large corporation. When the corporate world took away the family values that Titus Funeral Home was built on, Jerry felt he had no choice but to walk away. He did so in August of 1993 with great disappointment.
Even so, great things were in store for Jerry when he was united in marriage to Kathy Worman, originally of Plymouth, on October 10, 1993 in Warsaw. Beginning in January of 1995 they made their home in LaGrange, Kentucky. While there they owned and operated a Christian bookstore, Lemstone Books, in nearby Louisville. By 2000, they had moved to Indianapolis where Jerry worked for Feeney-Hornack Shadeland Mortuary until 2003. His career then took them to Fort Wayne where he was the manager of D.O. McComb and Sons - Covington Knolls Funeral Home until 2007.
Throughout this time and after a 10 year non-compete term was completed, Jerry had made several inquiries about purchasing the family funeral home back. Finally, his inquiries began to meet hope and, on May 6th, 2007, Jerry and Kathy (also a funeral director) finalized a purchase and took possession of the firm – Titus Funeral Home was once again family-owned.
Jerry was a longtime member of the Warsaw Breakfast Optimist Club, having served as both the club president and as Indiana Lt. Governor. He has been honored by the Optimist Club on a number of occasions including Optimist of the Year (1979), Outstanding Leadership as Club President (1978) and Indiana Distinguished Optimist (1982). Jerry was also a member of Warsaw’s American Legion Post 49 and a lifetime member of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 1126. He served on the Indiana Funeral Director’s Education Taskforce.
Jerry was a man of great faith. He was raised throughout his formative years in First Baptist Church of Warsaw and would attend church camp at what is now Camp Mollenhour. After he and Kathy moved back to Warsaw he was a very active member of Trinity United Methodist Church and was certified as a Lay Speaker through the United Methodist Church Denomination. He was asked to speak at other churches to fill-in when ministers were away. Jerry was an usher and a past member of the Staff-Parish Relations Committee and very active in the Serendipity Sunday School class. He even sang in the choir for a time.
A busy man of many interests, Jerry loved the Indy car racing and had attended 52 nearly-consecutive Indy 500 races, only missing one while he was deployed by the Army. He was an avid NASCAR fan, too and had attended every Brickyard race since its inception. He also had enjoyed attending races in Daytona, Bristol, and Michigan. He followed Jeff Gordon closely. Even as Jeff’s racing career came to an end he was enjoying Jeff announcing the races. A sports fan through and through, Jerry loved Cubs Baseball, and enjoyed attending a few of their games last year – including the game he and Kathy attended during the 2016 Division play-off games. But the big thrill, thanks to Kyle Babcock, was the game where he was privileged to sit with team-owner, Todd Ricketts. As were so many others, Jerry was ecstatic when the Cubs clenched the 2016 World Series! Jerry loved Notre Dame Football and was looking forward to attending 4 games this year. He enjoyed playing golf, and was an avid wood worker, making gifts and holiday decorations for family and friends. Jerry enjoyed the simple things too, like gardening. He was especially fond of Irises and had planted many varieties including some which were quite rare. Jerry’s love for Irises was something he learned from his grandmother and mother and was a very special part of their connection to one another. As his closest family can attest, he enjoyed cooking, baking, and canning. Jerry even made his own sausages, pickles, BBQ Sauce and many more delectable items. He especially looked forward to making and decorating for the Christmas Holiday each year. Each year he and Kathy looked forward to cutting their Christmas tree down at Henslers in Hamlet. He also looked forward to traveling. In fact, Jerry and Kathy were to go to Boston in late October where they were to receive Titus Funeral Home’s second Pursuit of Excellence Award. This award, issued by the National Funeral Directors Association, is presented to select funeral homes that raise the bar on funeral service excellence by adhering to the highest ethical and professional standards and providing unsurpassed service to families and their communities. Jerry was in the process of planning future mini trips for him and Kathy…trips long overdue.
Jerry Titus was and extraordinary man to know and love. He was a man of many talents and interests, all of which he used to enrich the lives of so many throughout his life. With unending devotion to his community he was Ward 1 Precinct 4 Committeeman and served on the Republican Party 3rd District Congressional Finance Committee. Never holding a grudge and although not always returned he continually demonstrated his love for others in many ways.
Those with so many memories to treasure include his wife of just shy by 6 days of 24 years, Kathy Titus of Warsaw; five children and their spouses: Mitch and wife, Jody Titus of Warsaw, Amber and husband, Kevin Gelbaugh of Winona Lake, John and wife, Katie Trzcinski of Shelbyville, Kentucky, Kristy and husband, Rick McCarthy of Louisville, Kentucky and Kevin (Mandy Sons) Trzcinski of Warsaw; 13 grandchildren: Shashawna Titus, Garrett Titus, Emma Gelbaugh, Skylar Blakley, Ashlyn Trzcinski, Mallory Bowers, Eric Trzcinski, Jesse Trzcinski, Evan Trzcinski, Kody Trzcinski, Isaac Trzcinski, Allie Titus and Wyatt McCarthy; one great-granddaughter, Zoie Titus; four aunts: Nellie Robinson, Jean Titus, Carol Titus and Wanda Titus; several cousins; mother-in-law, Virginia Worman; sister-in-law, Barbara Worman; special family friend, Jodi Purcell and her two sons, David and Joseph; and his two godchildren, Hannah and Lucas Babcock.
Preceding Jerry in passing are his parents, Ned and Maryon Titus (6/12/2003 and 1/3/2014, respectively), his brother, David Titus (11/12/1993) and his father-in-law, Jess Worman (6/12/2010).
Family and friends will gather for a time of visitation and to share memories on Thursday, October 12th from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. in Titus Funeral Home, 2000 East Sheridan Street, Warsaw. Jerry’s life will be further celebrated in a funeral service which is scheduled for Friday, October 13th at 11:00 a.m. with former pastor and friend, Reverend Dave Hummel, officiating. There will also be calling for one hour prior to the funeral.
A graveside service will be conducted following the funeral in Warsaw’s Oakwood Cemetery where Jerry will be entombed in the family mausoleum. This service will be officiated by Pastor Ernie Troxell of Trinity United Methodist Church. Military honors will be paid by members of the American Legion, VFW and active-duty members of the US Army.
Although flowers are welcome, memorials to United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) are preferred to help those affected by the hurricanes in Texas and Florida. Gifts may be mailed to Advance GCFA, PO Box 9068 GPO, New York, NY 10087-9068, Please mark your gift for the Texas or Florida. 100% of all monies go to the designated relief. Gifts may also be directed to K-21 Health Foundation – Cancer Care Fund, PO Box 1810, Warsaw, Indiana 46581-1810.