Gerald "Jerry" S Potantus

Born on October 7, 1940

Departed on January 1, 2021 and resided in Kingston Springs, TN

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Gerald “Jerry” S. Potantus, age 80, of Kingston Springs passed away peacefully on January 1, 2021 in Nashville TN.
Jerry was born in Cleveland, Ohio and is preceded in death by his parents, Steve and Anna Potantus.
Jerry served in the United Sates Air Force from 1960 – 1968. He loved the town of Kingston Springs where he lived with his wife, Judy, for 52 years. He was a long-time member of Kingston Springs United Methodist Church.
Jerry worked in sales for many years at Lankford Hardware and Supply Company and the people at Lankford were like his second family. He loved art and was a talented woodworker and craftsman who designed and built many custom pieces for friends and family through the years. Jerry could create beautiful wooden art by simply looking at a photograph. He dearly loved his family, grandchildren, and many friends who all knew him for his dry sense of humor and hugs.
He is survived by his loving wife, Judy Potantus of 59 years, son Rick Potantus of Kingston Springs, 4 grandchildren: Nick , Taylor , Lilly and Ryan Potantus, brother Jim Potantus of Morriston, Florida, sister Andrea Campbell of Hot Springs, Arkansas, and numerous nieces and nephews.
A private graveside service will be held at a later date at Middle Tennessee Veterans Cemetery with Military Honors.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Kingston Springs United Methodist Church, 368 North Main Street, Kingston Springs, Tennessee 37082.
Please visit our website to send condolences to the family at

28 Comments to Gerald "Jerry" S Potantus

  1. Don And Bonnie Canney
    January 7, 2021 4:34 pm

    Beautiful tribute Judy of Jerry’s life. He will be ready missed.

  2. Hank Klein
    January 7, 2021 8:11 pm

    Judy – Your husband, Jerry, and I were good friends in High School (Rocky River, Ohio). We started the “Hot Heads” Hot Rod Club as we were both interested in cars when we were in High School.

    In June 2012 Muriel and I met you & Jerry at Cracker Barrel in North Little Rock, Arkansas and Jerry gave my wife a carved duck he had made. We still have that duck.

    I last spoke to Jerry on his 80th Birthday in October 2020. He was a great guy and he will be missed.

    We have many pleasant memories of Jerry and we wish you God’s Blessings during this difficult time.

    Hank and Muriel Klein

  3. Cathy Liles Frisch
    January 8, 2021 8:19 am

    Dear Judy, Rick and Family,

    I know you have many good memories of Jerry that you will hold dear. He was a good husband, father, person and a good neighbor. He used to give me a big hug back in the days we went to church together. Jerry always wanted to know what was going on in your life and about your work. I know he was a dedicated employee also. I pray that your family will find comfort during these difficult days ahead. He loved his family tremendously.


  4. Kelli Hamilton
    January 8, 2021 5:16 pm

    I got to know Jerry and Judy two years ago by visiting with them and taking them Holy Communion several times since then. He was a great guy who loved his family and will be greatly missed. The Potantus family will continue to be in my prayers.

  5. Shawn Rider
    January 8, 2021 5:35 pm

    Judy, Rick and family,
    Please accept my heartfelt condolences. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Jerry and Judy for many years and they both have been so kind to me. His was a life well lived. I know the family has many great memories to hold on to!

  6. Mary Combs
    January 9, 2021 10:02 am

    Dear Potantus family,

    Most of my memories began with Taylor, Lilly, and Ryan as I taught them music at Kingston Springs Elementary. What sweet, smart students! I got to know Jerry and Judy through them, as well as seeing them at church. I remember Jerry had such kind eyes, and I know his kindness influenced his grandchildren. My deepest sympathy to the family, and hope you all can celebrate his wonderful life. Love, Ms. Mary

  7. Joh Hull
    January 9, 2021 12:27 pm

    Judy – We have never met, but I am a 1959 RRHS graduate and was another one if the group of “ car freaks” in our class. That being the case, I knew both Jerry and Jim quite well. Peace be with you in the coming difficult days – but bear in mind that they will get better.

  8. BettyLankford
    January 9, 2021 6:54 pm

    Oh my, a world without Jerry will not be the same. He gave me a hard time but I adored him and all his seriousness. He spent most of his life with us at Lankford’s and contributed to it’s many years of successful customer service. He was the backbone of the Lankford Hardware family. I will love his memories forever. RIP dear Jerry. ❤️

  9. Vickie
    January 9, 2021 11:31 pm

    Judy I wish I had known. You were there for me with mom and dad in September then I fell apart and just couldn’t talk with anyone. But please call me if you need me and I’ll be there. I always loved Gerry. He was so quiet and handsome and a bit intimidating. Lol. But I love you both. I pray God sees you through these next few months.

  10. Dora Baird Ferrell
    January 11, 2021 3:32 pm

    Judy, I grew up across the Street from you and got to know Jerry after you two got married. I always thought Jerry was such a handsome and kind man.
    I’m so sorry for your loss my sweet friend. My prayers for peace and comforting during this time of sorrow for you and the family.
    God Bless You 🙏.

  11. Gene Wheatcraft
    January 11, 2021 4:34 pm

    I met Jerry 61 years ago when we were in the USAF aircraft mechanics school together. After that we both were Stationed at Sewart AFB in Smyrna. We spent the next three and a half years flying around the world quite often assigned to the same missions. When we were back home in Smyrna we spent most of our time working on cars. In 1961 that all changed when Jerry met this pretty girl named Judy who took his mind off of cars. That fall I was the best man at their wedding. The following year I met a pretty girl named Lynda and that fall Jerry was best man at our wedding. Rick you probably don’t remember (LOL) but your mother was several months pregnant with you when your dad and mom drove us away from the church.
    God has your back now Jerry!

  12. Deborah Dowdell
    January 11, 2021 6:09 pm

    Jerry was a very special man. He became my brother-in-law when I married his brother, that happened to be a second marriage for both of us. Jerry & Judy welcomed me & my 4 children with open arms. We took many visits to their home, enjoying each other’s company. Even after our marriage failed, Jerry & Judy kept in touch with me.They welcomed me back in their home in the summer of 2019 when we had a quick visit. I remember Jerry with such warmth. He was a good man. I do hope that you have many memories that will bring you happiness.

  13. Norman Darnell
    January 11, 2021 6:32 pm


    I have fond memories of Jerry – both at family get togethers and all the times our families spent time together.

    Jerry was a man of many talents; a talent for his work and his hobbies. I remember his wood working and master furniture making talent as well as the building of your home.

    But most of all I remember Jerry’s big heart and his great love of family .
    His heart was always in the right place and his family was at the center.

    Judy, he placed you at # 1 always but the grand children were his Grand love as well.
    Nick, Taylor, Lilly and Ryan he was always talking and beaming about them when we connected with you all at some family event.
    And with a love and pride for his Grans that knew no boundaries.

    Your Aunt, Mary Ann, loved Jerry like a son and he loved teasing her .

    My mother always loved to cook for you and Jerry and to serve him her famous little biscuits that Jerry loved.

    Jerry is with his Lord and all of us , his family, will miss him.

  14. Bobby Bolden
    January 11, 2021 9:24 pm

    So sorry for your loss!! Please let me know of the memorial service! I only meet him a couple of times
    As he was a good Husband,Father and Friend too all. Prayers for you and your family. ❤️❤️

    Bobby Bolden

  15. Barbara Smithrick, Westlake, Ohio
    January 11, 2021 10:16 pm

    Jerry was my first cousin. Although most of our lives unfolded in different states, I recall early years where the crowd of Potantus cousins and their parents met at Grandparents Potantus house on Lakewood Avenue in Lakewood, Ohio to celebrate holidays. It was a boisterous time plus delicious Slovak food. I also remember Uncle Steve and Aunt Ann’s house in Rocky River that had an in ground swimming pool in the backyard. It certainly was a great place to enjoy warm summer days, and recall Jerry getting a super suntan that made him an even more handsome teenager.
    My sincere sympathy to Judy and family. Jerry’s passing on to heaven was less than a week after his cousin Andy
    (my brother) passed on December 26. May our faith and happy memories bring comfort.

  16. Nancy McDougal
    January 13, 2021 12:04 pm

    I just learned Jerry had passed and am so sorry. I didn’t know him as well as Judy, but know they had a very happy marriage. How sad this is for Judy. My prayers go out to the family

  17. Ken & Diane Moody
    January 14, 2021 5:10 pm

    Our hearts go out to you, Judy, and to Rick and your grandchildren as you grieve the loss of your beloved Jerry. We’ve lived across the street from you now for 20 years, and remember Jerry telling us about building the very first home on Old Barn Trace back before it was paved. I guess that’s why we’ve always thought of you and Jerry as the founders of our little neighborhood, and it just isn’t the same with him gone. We often marveled how meticulously he took care of your lawn and oh, how he loved cleaning his truck! We’re praying for you and asking God to hold you and your family close in these days of grief.

  18. Stephanie Wheatcraft Swann
    January 16, 2021 3:59 pm

    Judy and Rick,
    I’m sad Jerry has passed. Jerry and Judy have always been like a second set of parents to me. I’m grateful for the friendship that you all have had with my parents for many years. That is very special and you all are very special to me and my family. I’ve grown up hearing stories of dad and Jerry when they were in the service together stationed in Smyrna. I remember the many fond memories of our families getting together. You all are in my prayers and loved.

  19. Pam Francis
    January 16, 2021 9:01 pm

    Judy, I met you and Jerry in 1982. We had many wonderful times in the “old” Kingston Springs, back in the day. I will always remember you both at the hospital when our twins were born. You gave them the “A” baby and “B” baby T shirts. Jerry was a master of many things , working with his hands, and had such a dry sense of humor, and he was always funny. . You were perfect together. I pray that our Lord is comforting you and Rick, knowing that You will be reunited with him. Love you

  20. Lola Williams
    January 17, 2021 12:27 am

    Judy Bill and I go back many years knowing you and Jerry and the fun times we had double dating with you all. Jerry will be sadly missed,with his jokes and sense of humor. May God comfort you through all this! With love Lola♥️♥️

  21. Shirley and Charlie Johnson
    January 17, 2021 5:07 pm

    I first met Jerry in 2005, when I heard a commotion outside our new home’s front door. A man I had never met was trying to plug his electric trimmer into the outlet on our porch. This kind man, our new neighbor, had been the self-appointed caretaker of our neighborhood planting area, which is located right in front of our house, for many years. (By the way, he had been given permission to use our outlet by my husband, Charlie, who forgot to tell me about it.). We thought the world of Jerry. Judy, you are in our thoughts and prayers.

  22. Sandy Toungette
    January 17, 2021 10:54 pm

    Judy and family. I know this is a difficult time for all of you. Jerry was special to so many of us. I remember his stories of the grand kids. He loved each one of them so much. He also talked about how hard it was for Rick to raise the kids. He was very proud of you.
    And Judy you know how much he loved you. He use to tease that if she gets over a 140 pounds then I am going to have to trade her in. I wish we could have gotten together more but I will always cherish the time we had dinner together and reminisce about our times at Lankfords.
    Billy and I loved Jerry and will remember him forever. Praying for your family.

  23. Joe Moore
    January 18, 2021 4:40 pm

    Judy, I have known and kept up with you and your family for 50 years. After all of this time, you’re family is an extension of my own. My heart is burdened, yours broken. Words could never express my sympathy. May God cover your sorrows, and give you peace. Blessings,Joe Moore

  24. Judy and Floyd Cross
    January 19, 2021 11:15 am

    Oh Judy, I am so sorry for you!! To loose your soul mate. It will be hard but you can do it!!!!!!!! I just wished I had known. I would have done something to help you get through. I hope we still can. I love you and wish you the best. Judy Cross

  25. Troy & Mark Lacey
    January 19, 2021 1:21 pm

    Mark and I have been lucky to live next to Jerry & Judy for years. Jerry loved his family and cared for all their needs. He lived a full life and touched many people with his generosity and kindness. We all will miss him.

  26. Tom Steger
    January 19, 2021 7:17 pm

    Jerry was a wonderful friend who was very interested in the neighborhood. He maintained the entrance and mowed along Old Barn Trace all the way to his house a distance of about 6oo feet. I can still picture him waking behind his mower even in the summer heat with his trusty red towel to wipe his brow. I often wondered if Judy ever washed that towel. Jerry also love vehicles and I believe that he washed Judy’s car and his truck daily if not several times per day. One day I asked Jerry if he wanted to go with me to look at new pickup trucks. He jumped at the chance and when all was said and done, he enjoyed the ride and I ended up with the payments.
    Jerry was an institution in the neighborhood and will be missed.

  27. Stephanie and Noel Chivers
    January 19, 2021 7:59 pm

    Jerry was a kind and caring neighbor. I’ll never forget his appearing at our door with a beautiful bouquet of flowers from your yard that he wanted to share with his neighbors! Rest In Peace, dear friend and neighbor.

  28. Jordan Campbell
    January 21, 2021 3:39 pm

    It was such a joy to be around Jerry he had a sincerity and warmth that just made you feel at ease. I am so glad that I got to come and visit with the boys and Sara. During that visit I think I have a moment that I will remember for the rest of my life.

    Sara and the boys had gone out with Judy and it was just me and Jerry at the house. We talked about times when he was growing up with my mother and we took a walk outside. It was a beautiful day and it was so peaceful. We sat for a time staring at the trees and talking about life. He thanked me for coming up and letting him see the boys and he said that he was proud of me and he was thankful for everything he had in his life. He talked about his experiences, and growing up, the hardships they went through, and the Trouble(with a capital”T”) they got into. Most of all he talked about his love for his family and how much he enjoyed where he was. After a while we went back inside and watched some football just enjoying each others company.

    I will miss him greatly and will always remember the happiness he brought into my life and those that were fortunate enough to know him. I love you Uncle Jerry and I hope to live in your example.

    -Jordan Campbell

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