Jerome Francis Bundy (Jerry), age 63, passed away peacefully at sunrise on June 9, 2018, at the Kansas City Hospice House after a brief and courageous battle with an aggressive cancer.

A memorial service to honor Jerry’s life will be held on Friday, June 22, 2018, at 6 p.m. at the Irish Center at 19 W. Linwood Blvd, Kansas City, Mo. A celebration of life will immediately follow the service. We invite you all to come with your love and your stories. We want you to dress as Jerry would have wanted: casually and comfortably (Hawaiian shirts and attire are encouraged). A private burial will take place at a later time.

Jerry was born to Jack and Gladys Bundy on January 20, 1955, in Kansas City, Mo. The fourth child of 10 in a large Catholic family, he was raised in south Kansas City and grew up in the St. Thomas More Parish, was a 1973 graduate of Center High School and attended CMSU. Jerry was a Jack of all trades throughout his career and took pride in being a Tennessee squire, owning a piece of land that he described as being the size of a postage stamp in the heart of Jack Daniels country.

Jerry Bundy was a man of many names: Jerome, Jerry, Geronimo, Jerry Curl, Son, Dad, Papa, Brother, Uncle, Cousin and Friend. And if you were lucky enough to call him any of those names, you were lucky indeed.

Many who knew and loved Jerry described him as a “Gentle Giant.” He had a tough guy attitude with the softest of hearts. His mother, Gladys, described a son who, when he was younger, took a baseball bat to the head, courtesy of an older brother. He was taken to the hospital by his Dad and, while getting stitches to the head, he didn’t make a peep. The doctor later said that Jerry was the “gutsiest kid he had ever seen,” a fitting recognition of a theme that would carry Jerry throughout his life: guts. Jerry was so gutsy, in fact, that he willingly threw himself out of perfectly good airplanes many times, including skydiving in Hawaii, an experience that he treasured.

But that toughness was only Jerry’s shell; inside, he had a heart of gold. It was widely known in the Bundy family that Jerry delivered flowers to his Mom every year on his birthday as a way of thanking and honoring her. If you ask his siblings about “Jerry, the brother,” there’s a common theme amongst their sentiments: he’d do anything he could to help you out. No project was too large or small to prevent him from coming to your aid and helping you finish. From dealing with a broken-down car, a home remodel, a frozen pipe, medical situations or hazardous winter weather driving conditions, he would unfailingly lend a hand to a friend, family member, stranger…it didn’t matter. Jerry always had your back. And that unwavering support was felt by both his family and friends.

It was in the Center schools that Jerry found his dearest and lifelong friends. They really were friends until the end, filling Jerry’s last days with their visits, stories and laughter. Whether it was in class, at the line of scrimmage or driving around while Jerry leaned out car windows performing what his friends called “The Hippo,” his group of friends were known for their inside jokes, their pranks and their orneriness. To the five siblings who followed Jerry at Center, it was the antics of Jerry and his friends that made telling their new teachers that their last name was Bundy a somewhat anxiety-inducing moment.

Jerry and his crew of family and friends knew how to have fun! So many stories about Jerry involve epic parties. Halloween parties in particular were Jerry’s forté, and he would arrive in costumes that were always creative (and not always politically correct). It was at a Halloween party in 1978 that Jerry, dressed as a zombie doctor, took notice of a beautiful woman in a pumpkin costume, Sharon Maher. Little did he know that that pumpkin would be the love of his life and the mother of his children.

On April 26, 1980, Jerry and Sharon married. They were married for five years and during their marriage they gave birth to two beautiful daughters, Jessica and Rachel. Together, they also dealt with the loss of an unborn child whom we know Jerry is up in Heaven holding today. Jerry and Sharon’s marriage was a brief chapter in a rich story of love and friendship that spanned decades. They had ups and downs, but as Jessica once said, “My parents truly are soul mates—just a different type of soul mate.” Jerry and Sharon were dear friends and worked hard together as co-parents and grandparents. They celebrated their friendship in recent years with many late-night talks, family meals, holidays, some amazingly fun trips and, most recently, a pretty special Eagles concert. Jerry left this Earth knowing that the friendship and love he had with Sharon was a special one.

As a Dad, Jerry was the best. “Rule no.1: No matter what, Dad loves you,” was ingrained into the minds and hearts of Jessica and Rachel from an early age, and they knew it. “He gave me strength when I was weak,” Rachel said. He was so dedicated to and protective of them their whole lives. In short, he was an amazing Dad. And he was selfless; he gave endlessly yet never expected anything in return. So many of his daughters’ fondest memories of Jerry took place in his cars. “Dad never took the shortest route to any place, ever. He always took his time to go anywhere, and that time was always full of stories.”  An amazing storyteller with a wealth of knowledge, Jerry could entertain you for hours with his captivating narratives on a variety of topics. As a passionate fan of music, those car rides were just as likely to be filled with music from some of his favorite artists like Joe Walsh, Jethro Tull and Pink Floyd, to name a few. When Jessica and Rachel would finally arrive at their destination with their Dad, it was usually at a park for a game of Frisbee or at the end of the runway at the downtown airport to watch the planes take off and land, a tradition he also carried on with his grandkids.

“Papa,” as his grandkids called him, was truly one of a kind. Jasmine, Carter and Gracen were always showered with so much love from their doting Papa. Being a big kid himself, Jerry would play with them like no other and he could make them laugh harder than anyone else. And just as Jerry would stop what he was doing to help a friend, he would really stop what he was doing to help a grandbaby. “Papa’s number was the first one I memorized, the first person I would call,” Jasmine said. “He taught me any life lesson you could think of.  Everything from walking heel to toe (because I used to drag my feet) to ‘you have two ears and one mouth for a reason, Jasmine.’ No words could fully explain what he meant to me or could give justice to the amazing person he was. All I can say is I couldn’t have asked for a better Papa, father figure or role model than him.”

Among family and friends, one thing is undeniable: how much Jerry was loved. In the days surrounding his hospital and hospice stay he often quoted a line from the movie “Little Big Man” in which the character Old Lodge Skins said, “It is a good day to die.” All of Jerry’s family and friends will always know that any day they spent with him was a good day to live.

Jerry is preceded in death by his father, Jack, and sister, Karen Cox. He is survived by his mother, Gladys; daughters, Jessica and Rachel; his grandchildren, Jasmine, Carter and Gracen; his dear friend, Sharon; his siblings, Mike (Donna), Kathy Bourek (Kermit), Tom, (Dean Cox), Nancy, Mary, Mark (Paula), Sharon and Kevin (Rachel); 10 nieces and nephews, 13 great-nieces and nephews; his aunt, Mary; cousins; extended family and many friends.

In lieu of flowers, contributions are suggested to the family through the Jerry Bundy Memorial Fund at  Assistance by Funeral Advocates, LLC.

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