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Dr. Jerry Babb Gulledge

Dr. Jerry Babb Gulledge passed away peacefully at home in Germantown, Tenn., on Aug. 12, 2020. He was 87 years old. Jerry was born in Crystal Springs on Sept. 11, 1932, the third of four children to Ada Dale and Erwin Lowe Gulledge. He was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Charlotte Dale Peets (Randolph), of Jackson; his brother, Sonny Gulledge (Jean), of Covington, La.; his younger brother, Billy Gulledge, of Crystal Springs; and his constant cat companion, “Rebel.” He graduated from Crystal Springs High School in 1950 and started Millsaps College in June of that same year on an academic scholarship. Jerry found a way to balance a major in chemistry, including afternoon labs, Kappa Sigma Fraternity activities, tennis and football practice, and a robust sociallife while maintaining an extraordinarily high GPA.
While at Millsaps, he played on the tennis team and was a consummate competitor on the tennis court. He played three seasons of football for the Millsaps Majors varsity team, during which time Millsaps won their first Dixie Conference Championship. He was named to the All-Dixie Conference as an offensive lineman. He played football under the assumed name of “Johnny Jones,” against his parents expressed permission. As the athletic director reminded the audience when he was inducted into the Millsaps Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013, Jerry Gulledge was the only person known to play NCAA football under an assumed name. His fondest memory of his football days was in his final season against their fiercest rival Mississippi College when he blocked the extra point to preserve the win for Millsaps.
While at Millsaps, he met Ann Carter, of Jackson. On their first date, Jerry shared with Ann that his dream was to return to his hometown of Crystal Springs and practice medicine, caring for the people there. They fell in love and had a “swell” wedding in 1955. In December, they would have been married 65 years.
After completing course requirements for admission to medical school, he transferred to the University of Mississippi in Oxford to attend the first 22 months of medical school. He completed the final two years at the University of Tennessee Medical School in Memphis in 1956. After an internship in Chattanooga, Tenn., and two years in the Navy, he returned to Crystal Springs in 1959. He lived his dream and practiced family medicine in his hometown of Crystal Springs, including the delivery of over 3,500 babies. He was well-known in the medical community for his diagnostic skills. He established a special rapport with his youngest patients by using facial expressions, particularly one that resembled a frog. He became known as “Dr. Frog” to many, which resulted in patients giving him over 200 frogs from as far away as the South American Tropics and the Great Wall of China. After 54 years of practice, he retired in 2012.
On Friday nights, you could find Doc on the sidelines of the local high school football games. He was a strong supporter of Boy Scout Troop 156, where he was inducted into the Order of the Arrow. Jerry was a long-time member of the Business Men’s Sunday School Class at the Crystal Springs United Methodist Church. Jerry served a term as president of the Men’s Golf Association at Rolling Hills Country Club. The heavenly version of the Wednesday Men’s Golf Buddies (aka the “Old Coots”) is now complete.
It was important to Jerry to give back to the town he so loved. He served as a city alderman for 36 years and mayor pro-tempore of the city board. In later years, he dedicated his efforts to restoring the park at Lake Chautauqua for families to enjoy. He was instrumental in establishing the Friends of Chautauqua to form a partnership with the City of Crystal Springs. This resulted in many improvement and construction projects, including an outdoor classroom, protection of the original “Springs,” and most important to him, the construction of the Tree Top Trail. At his suggestion, a bench was added on the trail for walkers to rest and meditate. This bench was designated by the city as “Doc’s Bench.” In recognition of their efforts to promote the City of Crystal Springs and Lake Chautauqua, the city board designated the name of the visitor’s center as the Dr. Jerry B. and Ann Gulledge Welcome Center.
Always having a servant’s heart, he has given his body to the Genesis Legacy program for the Medical Education and Research Institute to support ongoing physician training and medical research.
Due to health reasons and to be closer to family, they moved to Germantown in 2016. He is survived by his wife, Ann Carter Gulledge, of Germantown, Tenn.; his daughter, Leigh (Scott) Lawyer, of Memphis, Tenn.; and his son, Dr. Jerry B. “Chip” Gulledge Jr., of St. Joseph, Mo. His pride and joy were his four grandsons, Davis Lawyer (Jenna), of Discovery Bay, Calif.; Carter Lawyer (Jana), of Healdsburg, Calif.; Ben Gulledge, of St. Joseph, Mo.; and Harris Gulledge, of St. Joseph, Mo. He is also survived by his nieces and nephews, Dale Sorgenfrei (Mark), Wyeth Luter (Billy); Randy Peets (Jackie), all of Jackson; Mike Gulledge (Mindy), of Roswell, Ga.; and Bill Gulledge, of Covington, La.
With heartfelt gratitude, Doc’s family thanks the staff of Trusted Care, LLC for their kindness and loving care.
The family requests that any memorials in his name be made to the Copiah Animal Shelter, P.O. Box 366, Crystal Springs, MS 39059; Friends of Chautauqua, P.O. Box 473, Crystal Springs, MS 39059; or the charity of your choice.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.