True Renaissance man Captain Jerry Brian Singleton, USN (Ret), passed away Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at the age of 67, from sudden cardiac arrest. Jerry, born in St. Louis, Missouri, had recently retired to Star Valley Ranch, Wyoming with his wife of 45 years, Susan (nee Grimm).
Susan and Jerry both graduated from Smithtown High School in New York in 1965, but didn’t begin dating until meeting at college in Brockport, NY. While in high school, Jerry competed in football and track & field, and even set a pole-vaulting record that stood for many years. He also served as the Vice President of the student council and was a member of the all-state band every year, winning many state music competitions before joining the military.
Capt. Jerry “Hook” Singleton was a Naval Aviator who courageously served his country for 30 years, seeing combat operations in Vietnam, Grenada and Lebanon. Jerry was the Commanding Officer of VFA-131, an F/A-18 strike fighter squadron, when it was awarded the Estocin Award for the greatest professional reputation, aggressiveness, and performance of any strike fighter squadron in the US Navy. He was the 137th Naval Aviator in American history to achieve over 1000 carrier-arrested landings. Jerry also served as Lieutenant Commander officer in charge of the Navy’s Landing Signal Officer School at NAS Cecil Field, FL. Additionally, he held the position of Commander, Strike Fighter Wing U.S. pacific Fleet and subsequently functioned as Chief of Staff of Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
His career took him around the world and he once lived with Susan and their children in Belgium while serving at NATO’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.
Captain Singleton’s awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (3), the Meritorious Service Medal (4), the Air Medal with combat ”V” (6), the Strike Flight Award (7), the Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal with combat ”V” (3), and various other individual, unit, and campaign awards.
During his military career, he earned a Master of Science in Business Management from Salve Regina University of Rhode Island, as well as a Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the United States Naval War College, from which he graduated with Distinction.
Following his distinguished naval service, Jerry began a second career in academia at the University of San Diego, where he developed, launched, and served as Founding Director of the Master of Science in Global Leadership program as well as the Director of Graduate Operations of the School of Business and Special Assistant to the Dean.
Jerry’s profuse and diverse talents included the arts. He attended the prestigious Eastman School of Music as an oboist, where his intention was to pursue a career in music. He did so later in his life, both as a performer and a composer. While in San Diego, he played oboe with the San Diego Symphony Orchestra. He most recently played the oboe and English horn in the Jackson Hole Community Band, and Baritone, Tenor and Alto saxophone in the Jazz Foundation of Jackson Hole Band.
His recent time in Star Valley Ranch, WY was the culmination of a life of professional excellence and inspirational leadership, and he filled his time there with love for his family, the joy of adventure, and his creative passions, which included woodcarving, fly fishing, skiing, wildlife photography, and composing his first symphony. He also enjoyed emailing his children bizarre news articles.
He is survived by his wife, Susan Singleton; his brother, Terry Singleton; his three children, Kelly (and Chris) Dalton, Katie (and Joe) Ciccarelli and Brian Singleton; his grandsons, William Brian Dalton and John Charles Dalton; and his mother-in-law, Mary Grimm. He was predeceased by his sisters Jo An Dallow and Linda Jasper.
Burial at Arlington National Cemetery is pending. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent in Jerry’s honor to a charity of your choice.