Jerome N. Waldor

NO. 17421  •  21 September 1927 – 2 September 2005

Died in Livingston, NJ
Interred in Sharey Tefilo Israel, Montclair, NJ

"My dad was the wind at my back." 
Dr. Matthew Waldor, speaking at Jerry's funeral

Jerome Noel "Jerry" Waldor was born on 21 Sep 1927, the second son of Jack and Rose Waldor, in Newark, NJ. He grew up in Newark, attended Weequahic High School, and formed many lifelong friendships. Several friends from his elementary school days spoke at his funeral service. In 1950, Jerry married neighbor Rita Kaden, and eventually their family grew to three sons and eight grandchildren.

Jerry enlisted in the Navy V-5 program in 1945, but in 1946, while in pre-flight training, he received an appointment to West Point. Jerry loved West Point, and in 1950 was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force. Rita and Jerry traveled to postings around the country, finally landing at the Royal Air Force Station, Sculthorpe, England in 1952. He served as a crewmember on the B-45 Tornado jet bomber, receiving training as a navigator-bombardier. He returned to McGuire Air Force Base, NJ, where he remained on active duty until 1954.

In 1954, Jerry was commissioned a captain in the Air Force Reserve. At McGuire, he was selected to command the newly-formed 5th Military Airlift Squadron in I960. He moved to the Pentagon, and then in 1978, he moved to the Defense Logistics Agency. In 1983, he was assigned to Air Force Logistics Command at Wright-Patterson AFB. He assumed a Tactical Air Command assignment in May 1985, where he remained until his retirement as major general in August 1987. During his service, he received many distinctions, including the Distinguished Service Medal and the Legion of Merit.

Military service was a pivotal force in Jerry's life. Upon his retirement, a ceremony was held at Langley AFB and attended by family and friends. At the ceremony, he spoke about his 40-plus years in military service. With his usual humility and humor, he credited both the Air Force and his wife Rita for allowing him to serve. The military gave Jerry an enormous amount; he learned a clear sense of discipline, camaraderie, a focused sense of service, and leadership skills, all of which served him well throughout his life.

In civilian life, he settled in West Orange and then South Orange, NJ, not far from where he was born. He established an insurance agency in the late 1950s, the Brounell Kramer Waldor Kane Agency, later the Waldor Agency. Under his leadership, the agency grew into a significant presence in the metropolitan New Jersey business community. An active believer in education, he earned his CPCU designation in the early 1960s. He was joined in the business by two of his sons in the 1980s. Both sons appreciated his ability to listen, guide, offer advice, and let them make their own decisions and mistakes. By early 2004, the agency employed more than 40 people. The atmosphere, while productive and disciplined, remained warm and comfortable under Jerry's tutelage. In addition to running and growing a business, Jerry remained committed to serving his community.

Jerry's life was guided by the mantra of service: service to his community, his country, and fellow humanity. Jerry served as campaign chairman in the 1980s of the United Jewish Federation of Metrowest and as president in the early 1990s. His service to that community was, and remains, legendary. He was on numerous committees and boards throughout the Federation. As one fellow board member said, "Jerry was remarkable for his ability to inspire others through his own example of hard work and total dedication." In addition to his involvement with the Metrowest community, he served on the boards of Cerebral Palsy of New Jersey, National Conference for Community and Justice, Daughters of Israel Geriatric Center, and New Jersey Y camps. His involvement in the campaign to build the West Point Jewish chapel is one his enduring legacies to West Point. The building which graces the Post is a testament to his hard work, which he shared with others.

Jerry was an avid tennis player. He played singles and doubles with competitive ferocity. He enjoyed the game and appreciated his rankings, marveling at how his ranking improved as his age bracket rose.

He was never known to say "no." "Super" became his signature answer to the question of "how are you?" This was no stock answer; this was how he felt, and he accepted the ribbing he got for answering that way with his usual grace. His infectious enthusiasm for life made him beloved throughout his communities. At a recent dinner for the Friendship Circle, an organization devoted to helping disabled, handicapped children, the director said, "Jerry was an exceptional example for all of us. He was able to give 100 percent to his community, 100 percent to his business, and 100 percent to his family."

He was devoted to the ideal of community. One of his most important missions was building communities by bridging differences. People in conflict sought him out; not as a judge, but as someone who would listen, give a fair hearing, and offer sound, pragmatic advice. He stressed what we have in common, unlike those who stress our differences.

Jerry remains sorely missed at work, at play, by his community, and by his family.

--Marc Waldor, son