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

30 Comments to Gerald "Jerry" S Potantus

  1. Don And Bonnie Canney says:

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

  2. Hank Klein says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:


    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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

  29. Durgut, Ashley, Edmund says:

    What can I say about Jerry that hasn’t already been said by all of his family and friends. He was such a great person to know and for the few years my wife, our son, and I knew him, he was a great friend and neighbor. Now, let’s move on to how I meet Jerry. When my wife and I first moved into the neighborhood, I was on a mission to meet and get to know all of our neighbors. Jerry and Judy’s house you would say is a unique home, we refer to it as the “Red Farm Barn Home”. You will also see a sign on Jerry’s mailbox that greats ALL that drive into our small but quaint neighborhood “Be Happy GOD Loves You”. I thought to myself, what lovely people must live in this home.

    So, as we settled into our first few weeks in our new home, I would occasionally see Jerry in his yard. I was either driving to work and/or returning home or walking our dogs. I would wave at Jerry, yell out HELLO but he would never respond back. There was even times he would be looking at my direction and would not respond back. I thought to myself, what kind of GRUMPY OLD MAN would put up a sign that reads “Be Happy GOD Loves You”, if he is never willing to acknowledge someone when they are saying hi to him. After a few failed attempts of getting Jerry to acknowledge my presences, I seen him standing next to his truck while I was walking my dogs one afternoon. This time, Jerry had his back to me so I decided to walk right up to him, tap him on his shoulder to introduce myself directly to his face, no matter if Jerry liked it or not! When I did so, Jerry turned around with a big smile and finally said hi to me with a firm handshake, welcoming me and my family to the neighborhood. Jerry then followed up by saying, “I’m sorry, but I’m a little deaf, and my eye sight isn’t so well, so you need to speak up and stand closer to me”. I quickly realized, this was no GRUMPY OLD MAN, he was just a cool guy, who like myself was an Air Force Veteran with many interesting and amazing life stories which he shared with me that day, as we sat and spoke for almost an hour getting to know each other. From that point on, we spoke every time I seen him in his yard. Jerry was a great person to know and even better friend to have.

    Finally, I would say, Jerry had a kind heart and he showed it with his smile, his personality, and his hands. When my wife and I welcomed our son into the world in the summer of 2017, Jerry was very excited to have a little baby in the neighborhood. Shortly after our son was born, Jerry made him his first piggy bank. That piggy bank will always be special to my wife, my son and I, because it came from Jerry’s heart and hands! We will miss Jerry very much and we will cherish the time my family and I got to know him. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Judy, and Jerry’s family.

  30. Andrea Campbell (Potantus) says:

    I had a hard time coming to this site because Jerry was my brother. Obviously I have many stories and anecdotes I could share, but there isn’t enough space here to write a book about why I loved my brother and what he meant to me and my family.

    Jim and I are depressed that it’s not the three of us anymore; it’s a horrible time when your family becomes just the two of you. I don’t feel left behind all the time though, because I know Jerry loved me and that I had a huge chunk of his heart. Besides, I could always make him laugh. I will sorely miss that laugh. And it made me feel so good to pull his strings. That memory is mine alone. God will definitely love Jerry because he is the only man I ever knew that always did the right thing.

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