Jerry Kirksey, Editor Emeritus of Singing News Magazine, passed away today at the age of 82. Mr. Kirksey had been in declining health for several years.
Born in Panama City, Florida, on June 13, 1940, Jerry and his family returned to his parents’ hometown of Pensacola following World War II. It was during his junior year of high school that Jerry first began working in one of his greatest passions, radio. After his graduation as a part of the Class of 1958, Jerry moved back to Panama City to begin work with WTHR Radio.
A return to Pensacola in March of 1960 set Jerry on the path that would ultimately defining his professional career. Jerry began working with The Florida Boys, as the quartet’s promotional director and office manager. This led to a working relationship with J.G. Whitfield. Jerry would work closely with Mr. Whitfield as the Southern Gospel music icon promoted concerts across the nation, and eventually launch what went on to become the largest and oldest Southern Gospel music publication, Singing News Magazine. Jerry served with Singing News Magazine from May 1969 until his retirement in 2010, encompassing a total of 492 issues. During his time at the magazine, Jerry created Southern Gospel music’s first National Radio Airplay Chart (1970) and the Singing News Fan Awards (1971).
In addition to his work with Singing News, Jerry served on the board of directors of the original Gospel Music Association, and the board of the original Southern Gospel Music Association of Georgia. He was involved in organizing the Southern Gospel Music Guild and the modern-day Southern Gospel Music Association. He was actively involved in the building and development of the original SGMA Hall of Fame and Museum at Dollywood. Jerry was inducted into the SGMA Hall of Fame in 2011.
Jerry married Carolyn Sue Rhodes on October 1, 1967. Sons Kenneth and Brett would eventually work with Jerry at Singing News, especially after the family moved to Boone, North Carolina, in 1987 following the sale of the publication to North Carolina businessman Maurice Templeton. Likewise, Carolyn was a fixture at many Southern Gospel concerts as she and Jerry represented Singing News across the nation. Carolyn passed away in July of 2015.
Funeral arrangements are pending at this time. A complete tribute to Jerry will be found in the March 2023 issue of Singing News.

Memorial Arrangements For Jerry Kirksey
A Celebration of Life service will be held on Wednesday, February 15, 2023, at 2:00 pm. Friends will be received by the family at the church one hour prior to the service. The service will be held at Galilee United Methodist Church, 4343 Galilee Road, Graceville, FL 32440.
The family of Jerry Kirksey has requested that in lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Lighthouse Children’s Home. The home accepts donations by mail or online.
Lighthouse Children’s Home
7771 Mahan Dr.
Tallahassee, FL 32309
Phone: 850-877-3778
The family appreciates all of the support that has been shown to them since Jerry’s passing last week at the age of 82. Your continued prayers are also appreciated.

About The Author

Online Editor, CTO, Sea Walker Media

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