Jerry was born in Equality, Illinois, on April 4, 1929, to Loren and Opal Vinyard. He grew up in Colorado Springs, CO, but graduated from high school in Equality in 1948. He then attended Adams State College in Alamosa, CO, where he met Jean Meister. They were married after college on June 6, 1953. Jerry was drafted and served 2 years in the Army. While stationed in San Francisco, they had their first child, Jan, in 1954.
After being discharged from the Army, they returned to Alamosa where he briefly became a high school English teacher. He quickly discovered it didn't suit him. Shortly after he gave up teaching he had a dream one night that he was pulling teeth. The next morning he asked Jean if she "thought he could be a dentist." She responded with "if you want to be, why not?" Consequently, he began dental school at Washington University in St. Louis, MO in the fall of 1957. That is where Jerry's love of baseball and especially the Cardinals was cemented. He remembers seeing Stan "The Man" Musial, his favorite sports figure, hit home runs in Sportsman's Park. In 1960 his son Jeff was born there in St. Louis. In 1961 Jerry graduated and began looking for a place to hang his shingle. He wanted to get out of the cold of Colorado where he had worked with his dad in the family gas station, and he wanted a great small town to raise his family. Wickenburg was a perfect fit. He provided top quality dentistry to the town of Wickenburg from 1961 until he retired in 1996 at the age of 67.
While in Wickenburg, he wanted to truly participate in the community, not just live there. He became involved in the town council and eventually served as mayor. He was a member of the school board, served on the Library Society board and was a member of the Rotary service club for many years.
Most importantly for him, he was an active member of local churches throughout his years in Wickenburg, first at the Presbyterian church and then at Calvary Baptist church from 1970 until his death. He served as a deacon, Sunday school teacher, Bible study leader, and Sunday school superintendent. Even after retirement, he continued to invest his time teaching in a Christian mission school in Farmington, NM. On April 16, 2016, his hope in the grace of his Lord Jesus Christ was realized and he went to spend eternity with God.
One of his major accomplishments and special joys was bicycling from coast-to-coast with Wandering Wheels five times between 1983 and 1989. Wickenburg and Calvary Baptist church, as well as the home of Jerry and Jean, became an oasis for groups of Wandering Wheels cycle trips for many years.
Jerry is survived by his wife, Jean, of 62 years, his sisters Peg Vinyard and Betty Winney, a special cousin/sister Jean (Jerry) Williams, a daughter Jan (Lowell) Inman, a son Jeff (Narlynn) Vinyard, 8 grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents Loren Cressie Vinyard and Mary Opal (Frohock) Vinyard, and his grandson Matthew Benjamin Inman.