Jerald Allen Potter was born July 25th 1925 in Edmond, Oklahoma to Allen Potter and Violet Hargis Potter. Jerry lived most of his early years in Lindsay, Oklahoma where he lived with his maternal grandparents, his mother and his Aunt Kitty and Uncle Reubin. He spent a short time in Maysville, Oklahoma.
When he was in Junior High School, Jerry moved to Oklahoma City where he was enrolled at Harding Junior High School. He lived in the same neighborhood with Gordon Post who introduced him to the game of golf, one of his lifelong loves.
Jerry attended Classen High School where he lettered in football and baseball.
On May 12, 1943, Jerry joined the Marine Corp. He was a seventeen year old junior therefore; his mother had to sign a permission document allowing him to enlist. He served three years in the South Pacific. As a gunner on TBF Avenger, he survived the Battle of Peleliu known as the bloodiest battle in Marine Corp history.
At the age of twenty-one, Jerry returned to Classen High School to graduate with the Class of 1946. He did not return early enough to play his senior year of football but he did play in the first All-State Baseball Game.
He attended Cameron and Centenary College, then graduated from Oklahoma City University where he played on OCU’s last football team.
Jerry Potter started his coaching career at Verden, Oklahoma where he coached basketball and baseball. Even though basketball was not his primary sport, his Verden boys team went to the finals of the regional tournament. From Verden, he served as assistant basketball and football coach at Chickasha High School and later in the same capacity at Central High School in Oklahoma City, where he also coached the golf team.
Jerry married Ezell Glynn Nelson on June 6, 1953, in Chickasha, Oklahoma. They were blessed with two sons, Kent and Kevin.
When Oklahoma City Harding became a high school, Jerry was named head football coach. At Harding his teams went to the State finals twice. In 1965, Jerry was named football coach at Putnam City High School where he won three state championships (1974, 1975 and 1977). Jerry attributed his coaching success to the fine young players that the parents sent him, the outstanding assistant coaches surrounding him and the supportative administrators at Harding and Putnam City.
In 1957, Jerry was named Oklahoma City “Coach of the Year.” 1969-1970, he served as president of the Oklahoma Coaches Association. In 1974 he was named District Five “Coach of the Year” by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association. That organization also admitted him to their National Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Coaches Hall of Fame in 1977.
Jerry began his second career, homebuilding after retiring as Athletic Director at Putnam City. He loved his retirement, golf and cards at Oak Tree, and having lunch with his buddies.
Jerry Potter was a lifelong Methodist and a longtime member of Church of the Servant United Methodist Church founded by Norman Neaves, one of Harding’s outstanding halfbacks.
Jerry is survived by his wife Ezell, son Kent Potter, son Kevin Potter and his wife Dorea; three grandsons, Dr. Heath Potter and his wife Chapel, Kaleb Potter and wife Taylor, and Brent Potter. He is survived by two great granddaughters; Madelyn Kate Potter and Claire Violet Potter. He is also survived by a host of cousins and friends.
The family wishes to express their appreciation to the many wonderful staff members at Autumn Leaves and thoughtful caregivers from Faith Hospice.
Memorial contributions may be given to Harding Charter School Foundation, Putnam City School Foundation, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Alzheimer’s Association or Church of the Servant
A memorial service will be 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, June 24, at Church of the Servant, 14343 N. MacArthur Blvd. in Oklahoma City. www.vondelsmithmortuary.com
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