Jan. 1, 1925 — Oct. 30, 2023
On Oct. 30, 2023, Col. Jerry B. Disharoon passed away peacefully in Fort Worth, Texas.
He and his wife, Tamara (Tommy) had lived in Ashland, Oregon, for the past 50 years before recently moving to be near extended family.
Jerry was born Jan. 1, 1925, in Strawn, Texas, to Allen and Edith Disharoon. From an early age he excelled in all things mechanical. As a young teenager, he built a vehicle entirely from scrap parts, but his true passion was aviation.
After graduating from high school in 1942, he entered the Army Air Force Cadet Program in 1943. He graduated as 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army Air Force. He extended his training to become a duty aircraft maintenance officer. In December 1944, he received overseas orders for China. He was 19 years old.
During his time in China, Jerry flew The Hump, flying over the dangerous Himalayan Mountains.
In May 1945, Jerry was awarded the Air Medal, which is given for single acts of heroism or meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight. In November 1945, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, which is our nation’s highest award for extraordinary aerial achievement and is awarded to recipients for heroism while participating in aerial flight.
In 1946 after Word War II ended, Jerry was assigned to the U.S. Army Air Force Liaison Team to the Chinese Air Force in Shanghai at Kiangwan Air Base. He later was a member of the 14th AirForce Flying Tigers Association. Shanghai is where he met his future wife, Tommy, who worked in base tech supply. Jerry and Tommy married on March 4, 1947, in Chengdu, China, in Chiang Kai-shek’s personal apartment.
The newlyweds returned to the United States when he was transferred to Austin, Texas. Jerry spent 30 years in the United States Air Force as a career officer. Jerry’s tours of duty took the family to numerous bases within the United States, including Alaska and Germany. With the exception of tours of duty in Korea and Vietnam, he felt that it was important that the family, which had grown to include three children, should always stay together.
Jerry retired from serving his country in 1973. He and Tommy moved to Ashland, Oregon, where he continued his love of flying, building and maintaining numerous aircraft. He was an active member of the Quiet Birdmen Hanger in Medford, Oregon.
Jerry loved to “hold court” to regal listeners with stories of his hometown and his childhood antics. His wartime experiences were astonishing. He loved to sing and had a very good voice. One of his favorite songs was the U.S. Army Air Corp anthem. He sang it as he worked on his planes and cars. The family can imagine that he is singing that song now:
Off we go into the wild blue yonder,
Climbing high into the sun;
Here they come, zooming to meet our thunder,
At ’em boys, Give ‘er the gun!
Down we dive, spouting our flame from under
Off with one helluva roar!
We live in fame or go down in flame. Hey!
Nothing’ll stop the Army Air Corps!
Jerry is survived by his wife of 76 years, Tamara (Shulepova) Disharoon, daughters Catherine Kizer (David Kizer) and Maria Ragan (Jimmy Ragan), son Jim Disharoon, grandchildren Jeremy Ragan, Alec Disharoon and Alyssa Disharoon, and great-grandchildren Elle and Madison Ragan.
The family greatly appreciates the love and care that the staff at Community Hospice in Fort Worth, Texas, gave to Col. Jerry Disharoon to help ease his final flight.
Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, at Winscott Road Funeral Home, Benbrook, Texas. The funeral with honors will be at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, at 10:30 a.m. (Central Time) Wednesday, Nov. 8.
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