Jerry Lee Briggs
Jerry was born on September 25, 1944 to Frank D. (Jim) and Clara L (Lawin) Briggs in Sterling Illinois. He attended grade school and high school in Sterling and started to charm his lifelong friends early in life. He loved attending his class reunions. After high school Jerry entered the Army, 101st Airborne, 320th ARTY BN. His group of friends continued to expand with his fellow paratroopers. Reunions with this group were also a priority for Jerry. Jerry entered college at University Wisconsin La Crosse and received Bachelor of Science Degree. While in college he tended bar and continued to sky dive competitively. When they needed a pilot to drop skydivers Jerry got his pilot’s license. He learned to fly in a Luscombe, little did he know at the time, that would become his passion. He flew anybody anywhere to build his time. He flew several attorneys around the states in their airplanes and soon was doing leg work for them. That led to his Private Investigators License and soon his own company. He spent a short time helping with the La Crosse County Sherriff’s department, especially during the famous “Oktoberfest”. Jerry got his multi engine, instrument ratings and an ATP. He was soon doing more flying, less investigating, and began flying for various corporations in the La Crosse area. He made the move to the airlines, Midway Airlines, and thought he had made it. Midway’s bankruptcy brought him back to corporate aviation for a short time until he made the move to Reno Nevada and Reno Airlines. Reno Airlines led to American Airlines until he retired in 2004. Jerry made new friends every day and made it a point to keep in touch with them. Each career path led to more friends. Jerry loved to vacation, with a more the merrier mindset. He loved sharing a good time from the early ski trips to Colorado, to warm weather trips to Florida and the Caribbean to Europe Sightseeing and River/Ocean Cruises. He even got “down under”. Who could forget those crazy Lake Powell Boat Trips! Jerry joined the Arizona Wing of the Commemorative Airforce around 1999. There he with fellow “Colonels” put a WWII B-25 back in the air and gave rides. That was a highlight for him to fly this workhorse of WWII.
Jerry loved a good joke and making people laugh.
Jerry was a member of the American Legion Post 52, La Crosse WI, Retired AA Pilot, Quiet Birdman, Member EAA, NRA, AOPA Certified Flight Instructor, Sky Diver, Scuba Diver, Type Ratings in King Air, Citation, DC-9, MD-80, 757/767, G-IV, Hawker, also flew a Navajo, Pilatus, RV-4 and B-25. Jerry had over 24,000 hours of “Navigating the Skies”.
Whether you knew Jerry as Jerry; Briggs; Mannix; Red Baron; Captain; Colonel or Brad Pitt,
Jerry believed you should do what you love and love what you do—-and he did!
Jerry is survived by his wife, Peggy Jean Briggs (Woods), son Kory Lynn Briggs, Great Grand Children Addisyn Briggs and Gavin Burcham, Brother Jim (Carole) Briggs. Nephew Jerry Walter Briggs (Serena) (Andy, Jimmie and Amanda) and Niece Debbie Sallman (Norm) (Danielle, Nicholas)
Jerry was preceded in death by his parents Jim and Clara Briggs and his Grand Daughter Tiffany Ann Briggs.
A Friends Gathering and Celebration of Life will be planned for June 27, 2020 at the American Legion Post #52 in La Crosse Wisconsin.