Edward G. "Jerry" Jeep, 86, of River Forest, died on May 28, 2013, following his battle with cancer. Born in St. Louis, Mo. on March 12, 1927, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy after high school and was being prepared for duties as a hospital corpsman for the expected invasion of Japan when World War II ended.
He attended St. Louis University on the G.I. Bill, earning a B.S. in Chemistry in 1950, then worked in Oklahoma as a pharmaceutical salesman until one evening, he and a friend, Bill Skeehan, shared their respective vocations to the Catholic priesthood. After studying at St. Thomas Seminary in Denver, he was ordained a priest in the diocese of Oklahoma City and Tulsa in 1959.
He served as associate pastor at St. Patrick and Corpus Christi parishes in Oklahoma City, and St. Mary's Church in Tulsa. At St. Pat's, he helped implement Msgr. Don Kanaly's vision of a "church the people built" through the funds and physical effort of parishioners, creating an innovative, architecturally notable church that was consecrated in September of 1962, on the eve of Vatican II.
He also worked in the Diocesan Office of Religious Education, where he met Elizabeth McMahon. In 1969, they married.
During the 1960s, Rev. Jeep became involved in civil rights and social justice issues, including traveling to Mississippi in 1964 to aid voter registration efforts and joining the march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala. in 1965.
After leaving the active priesthood, he and his wife moved to Wisconsin (for an M.S. in Urban Affairs in 1971), then to Washington D.C. for a position with the Economic Development Administration (EDA), an agency in the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, where he worked to stimulate employment and community revitalization in depressed areas.
In 1978, after being promoted to regional director of EDA's Midwest Region, he and his family moved to River Forest and joined St. Luke Parish, where he served on the Peace and Justice Committee. They also joined the River Forest Tennis Club, continuing a lifelong passion for the game. The "Breakfast Club" continued to meet weekly, long after its members gave up the game.
In 1996, he retired from the U.S. Government's Senior Executive Service and turned his attention and energy to community organizing, helping to bring the organization United Power to the Oak Park-River Forest area.
In addition to tennis and community organizing, his interests included golf, reading, political activism, woodworking and religious affairs. He also supported his wife's interests, attending as many Siena Center and Albertus Magnus Society events as possible. And he enjoyed visiting his children and grandchildren, friends and relatives.
In 2010, he and longtime friend Joe Dillon published the book, Vatican II – A Promise Broken? honoring the memory of Rev. Bill Skeehan and the Second Vatican Council. It is available at Amazon.com
Jerry Jeep is survived by his wife, Dr. Elizabeth McMahon Jeep; his son, Lt. Col. Edward (Louis) Jeep, U.S.M.C.; his daughter, Emily Jeep Klingaman; his son-in-law, Paul Klingaman; and his granddaughters, Charlotte and Simone.
The family deeply appreciates and thanks all who showed their love and support during Jerry's illness. They also appreciate the professional and loving care given by Dr. Laura Michaelis and the staff of Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Medical Center, and the compassionate care of Pete Dayenot, Nick Layuz and the staff of Odyssey Hospice.
Services were held at St. Luke Church.