REMEMBERING: JAKE LEFT SOME "HEAVY HEARTS" - Woodrow "Jake" Kerby 1915-2004

By Bob Weaver 2004

During the death of older-timers in the greater Hur community, our country preacher Dorsey Miller would say "My heart is heavy."

My ole buddy Jake has died.

My heart is heavy, not only because of his passing, but the passing of many others since we returned to the Village of Hur.

Few are left of Jake's generation. Even his brother-in-law and next door neighbor, Marion Whisman, is fading. (Now Deceased)

He leaves lots of memories with my "young" generation, his legacy of humor and good attitude.

Jake could story-tell about the worst things that human beings have done with such grace that you wanted to forgive them right away of their wrongdoing.

Like many longtime families in Sunny Cal, Jake was rooted in sod.

He never got far away from his small house down on Slider Fork, nor far away from his wife Eulah, who preceded him is death.

He was by her side, her caretaker and companion for years as her health declined.

Eulah had to go to Long Term Care in Grantsville and Jake would drive to town nearly every day to visit her. Eulah would then call Jake late in the evening, just to see if he got home safely.

A few years ago, Eulah made her nightly call and Jake didn't answer. Concerned, she called her sister, Elah and brother-in-law Marion, who walked up to the house to see if he was there. He wasn't.

By 10 p.m. all the neighbors had been alerted from Jerry Riggs up on the ridge to nearly every soul in Hur. Jerry, who was working as a volunteer for Calhoun EMS, brought an ambulance and the search for Jake began.

We all knew he had gone over the hill.

Dianne and I dug out our high-intensity lights and began to search the roadbanks from Hur to Grantsville, looking in every nook and holler.

No Jake.

Hours later Jake drove back to his house about midnight, much to the relief of his wife and all the searchers.

Jake, who had stopped to get dinner at the JoAnn's Restaurant, later ran on to a hitchhiker and his kids on Phillip's Run, trying to find a way to their home deep in the woods of Beech and beyond.

Jake took them home, the slow driver he was.

Eulah got all over Jake, chastising him for his absence and telling him never to do that again.

Jake laughed. "I'm sorry Eulah. I cannot promise that. If I want to give someone a ride, I'll give them a ride," he said.

During a 1998 "Christmas Tour" of our illustrious outhouse, Jake, then about 83, was so enthralled with the building and its contents, he excused himself and "went" behind the nearest oak tree.

Someone asked him why he didn't just use the outhouse, "I didn't want to mess it up, it's much too nice," he said.

The day he slipped and broke his hip, which started his decline, I heard the call on the scanner and went down to his house in case they needed lifting help.

Marion and Elah Whisman came to help and Jake was on the floor in severe pain, obvious that his hip was broken. I got some pillows to try and make him more comfortable until the ambulance arrived.

Jake motioned to place my ear close to him. "Bob, I always knew you wanted to kick the s - - - out of me. Now's your chance!"

So, dear reader, you may understand more about "heavy hearts."


By Dianne Weaver

For sometime before Jake went to Long Term Care, he would call nearly every evening, just to chat ... and chat we did, about so many things, life in the country and raising gardens. The conversation would get around to our dogs.

Jake would tease me saying, "You talk about those dogs, like they're your kids," and then he would tell long stories about his own, Bandit and Joey.

He usually called about the time Wheel of Fortune was on TV. Sometimes there would be long pauses in the conversation, because Jake was playing the game.

He'd ask, "Are you watchin' the Fortune?" I'd say, "no Jake I don't have it on," then he would say, "well, turn it on quick, I need help with this one."

We had a way of making each other laugh, usually about some silly little thing. One of us would ask, "Why are we laughing about this, it really isn't that funny," and then we would laugh harder.

We rarely ended a call without asking about our friends, neighbors and families, or "our people," as we called them. There was no doubt Jake loved and cared for "his people," and we all loved him.

Thank you Woodrow "Jake" Kerby, for the friendship, laughter and love.