Jerry Alan Dills, 61, passed away on April 13, 2023. He worked for Knoxville Parks & Recreation where he was officials coordinator. He also was affiliated with SEAA and SPA softball associations for many years.
We asked Sheryl Ely, director of Parks & Rec for the city, if she could tell us what Jerry meant to her department. She wrote:
Jerry Dills’ love of sports was always evident in his work life. Yes, he wore his UT orange with pride, but he also went out of his way to help his co-workers as he was the consummate team player.
He would help think of ideas to make our sports and recreation programs better. Jerry took on the oversight of organizing staffing at Augusta Quarry. We had not staffed the quarry prior to a couple years ago and he stepped in to make sure things ran as smoothly as possible. It was a challenge for all of us, but he said, “We may make a few mistakes this first year. We will learn from the mistakes and hope that our efforts will make the area a better space for all.”
Jerry had ideas (for change) for our basketball programs and wanted to work with our athletics and recreation division to discuss and possibly implement the changes this upcoming season. He felt so strongly about making the program better that he wanted to be at the games to take on issues and concerns firsthand so that our staff could focus on the game and players.
He had a lot of relationships/connections that helped him locate umpires and referees, and he was willing to train and grow young people in these positions.
I smile each time I think of a cold winter day and I get a call saying, “I have a crock pot of chili in my office and a bowl with your name on it.” That was Jerry, the co-worker and the friend that we in Parks and Recreation will miss.
Mr. Dills was called “Pop-Pop” by his grandchildren. He leaves his wife, Sherry, and three children and their families. The full obituary is here.
His family wrote: “He loved his job and loved sports intensely, but Jerry will be remembered most for his love of people. He was a dedicated and passionate mentor for kids and young adults, believing that everybody can be great if they just have somebody to believe in them. He lived that belief out with humbleness and a kindness that shaped many lives.”
A Celebration of Life will be held at Caswell Park in Knoxville, on Friday, April 28. Friends and family will gather from 5-7 p.m. to share favorite memories and stories. A ceremony to honor him will follow.