Jerry Cavender

07/01/1941 - 11/28/2020

Obituary For Jerry Cavender

Early Saturday morning, November 28th, Jerry Cavender awoke and gave thanks to his Maker, as he always did, for another day. A short while later, he received a call to enter eternity. He had prepared many years earlier for this call and answered it quickly with, “Yes!”. He was a good, Christian man. Through the years, he served as a Youth Group leader, Sunday School teacher, and other positions in the church.

Jerry was born on July 1, 1941 in Charleston, WV. He grew up on Cooper’s Creek and graduated from Elkview High School. He attended WVU, Aurora University in Illinois, and West Virginia State University before graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Math and Elementary Education. Jerry was a Kanawha County teacher for 25 years. While teaching the core subjects, he was able to make a positive impact on students and encouraged many to make the right life decisions long after leaving his class. After retirement, he found great joy in sharing some time with his teacher buddies and cohorts who fondly call themselves “The Lunch Bunch.”

During the summer months, while off from teaching, he “enjoyed” digging and installing water, electric, gas, cable, French drains, and sewer lines. This led him to choose novelty plates for his trucks such as “DIGGER” and “DRT SRGN.” He loved playing in the dirt in the summertime.

Jerry worked 30 years with the Kanawha Valley Soap Box Derby Association from 1985 to 2015. Serving in various capacities, he always made sure it was a fun, fair, and meaningful experience of teamwork for the youth. He enjoyed building several of the loaner cars that are used by the racers.

Jerry never met a stranger and always had time to talk with anyone willing to listen. Some of his favorite topics were the “way back when days”, corvettes, and old trucks. According to him, old trucks were much better than new trucks, even if they happened to break down from time to time. He claimed that all you need is a friend who is a good mechanic. That would be Greg Pennington and Route 21 Truck and Auto of which Jerry was a frequent visitor.

Jerry found delight in every minute of his role as Pop-Pop and Grampa to Natalia, Giovanni, and Keanu. He hoped he had taught at least one of them to, “Please be a little quieter.”

Jerry is preceded in death by his parents, Naomi and Emmanuel, “Shorty.”
Left with years of wonderful memories is his wife of 52 years, Carolyn Sue, children, Jerry II (Patty), Andrea (Rico) Diacono, brother Bill (Linda), sister Janet Craig, sister-in-law, Jeannie DeFrehn, nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws, and many friends.

No flowers, please. The family requests donations be made to Goldtown Community Church Pantry Fund. Because of the covid-19 mandates and concerns, a celebration and memorial of Jerry’s life will be held virtually at 2:00 P.M. on December 4th on Goldtown Community Church Facebook page. Pastor Al Mendez will officiate.

Johnson Funeral Home, Jacksonville, NC is in charge of arrangements.
To share a memory of Jerry or send a condolence to his family, please visit

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Sue, I'm so sorry about the loss of Jerry. My prayers are with you and your family. May Jesus comfort you and give you peace. Ruby Kessell.
- Ruby Kessell
I am blessed to say that I knew Jerry. He's been my neighbor my entire life. I grew up with Jerry and Andrea. Jerry's legacy is that he always witnessed to everyone about the Lord and always helped anyone he could. When TJ was laid off, Jerry gave him side jobs to help us out by letting him help with mowing or ditch digging. He was faithful to the Lord and to Goldtown church in so many ways. Special man with tremendous love! Heaven gained a faithful servant!! Thankful to have known Jerry. Love and prayers for all of you!
- Tiffany johnson
We grew up together he was born in 1942 we were babies together he was my first friend and remained my good friend through our entire lives .. I am so heart sick about the loss of me life long friend.. we did everything together went all through school together went to church together 4-H club together our parents was also good friends we visited each other often grew up playing everything together we never went out of our hollow without stopping at their house he was such a special good man was an example and inspiration to all that knew him and such a blessing to everyone will surely be missed by many.. He was truly a Christian man whose values will go on through all the lives of those he touched .He was an example of what a true Christian should be a great family man and a man of God my heart felt sympathy love and prayers to entire family.. Janet, Jerry and Bill are like mine and my brother Fry brothers and sisters all m my love and prayers are with you is this terrible loss!!
- Nellie Cottrill
I am so sorry to hear about Jerry. He wasn't just a colleague but a dear, dear friend. He was always there to help where needed, loved talking about and helping kids with Soapbox Derby. I could always count on him for our yearly Washington, DC trip with my 5th graders. I think he enjoyed it as much as the kids did. He loved working with kids and never lost his sense of humor with them. His dedication to the church was obvious especially at Easter egg time, but the most important thing to him was his belief and acceptance of Jesus Christ. You will certainly be missed Jerry, but I know that you are at peace and have finally made it home. I'm proud to have worked with you, had the honor of teaching your children, for your friendship and advice over the years, and for the example you set for everyone you came in contact with.
- Connie Welling
My most heartfelt condolences to the family of Jerry . We went to school together, played football together. He was a good friend.. He will be missed..
- L. Gay Pauley
My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family for the loss of Jerry. I remember him well from Coopers Creek Advent Church where my Dad was the Pastor. It was fun riding with him in his convertible. He was a great man and will be missed by all. Love to all of you during this sad time.
- Paul Strickland
Sue, we are sorry for this loss of Jerry, he was such a big part of our family, from watching Greg grow up and being the first to spank his butt in school, which Greg still likes to tell people about, we all had the utmost respect for Jerry. Adrian ditch digging with him when he was younger to Soap Box Derby days, days that I know Adrian won't forget. Seeing him at our dinner table if just for coffee and a talk, we will truly miss the time with him. Carolyn and Greg Pennington and our family
- carolyn
Mrs. Cavender, Jerry, and Andrea, I'm so sorry for your loss. Love and prayers for you all.
- Tressie Kiser
My thoughts,prayers and love goes out to the family. I was one of Mr. Cavenders students,I was in his 4th grade class,many years ago,I'm same age as his daughter. He taught me alot,and was a great teacher,and nice man. Of all my teachers throughout my school days,he was my fave,and stood out in my life more than anyone. He will be missed. My condolences go out to the family.
- Tina Spencer
I too was a friend of Jerry. He even did ditch digging work for me on two separate occasions and installed my water hook-up. He did the same for my mother. He loved to talk with us. I already miss him, but, thank the Lord, I will see him again.
- Jim Edens
Sue my prayers are with you and your family family. I was shocked and heartbroken to hear of Jerry's passing. He was so much fun to work with and always had a story to tell. Loved going on his Travel WV field trip. My girls absolutely loved him and lived his stories!
- Tammy Clark
So sorry to the family for he was a great man. I had him for 4th grade and talked to often n the community. He will b missed. R.I.P. Mr. Cavender.
- Terri McCune
May God comfort this family with this great loss. Such an amazing man always our friend. He helped my grandchildren in the soap box derby and was always so kind. He will surely be missed
- Jenny harteben
Sue and Family, I offer my sincere condolences to you and your family. I was very sorry to hear that Jerry had passed away. I did not have the opportunity to know Jerry well. He and my husband would have been good friends. My husband loves to talk and has never met a stranger. I did not realize that he attended the University of Aurora. My father was born in Aurora, Illinois. It is very sad to lose someone that you love. Cherish the memories. He lives in your heart. Larry and Nancy Wolfe
- Nancy Wolfe

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