Dr. Gerald (Jerry) Eugene Wilcox, 92, recently of Carmel, IN, died peacefully Tuesday, November 21, 2017 at his daughter’s home in Lafayette, IN. He was born July 17, 1925 in Wautoma, WI to Rose and Willard Wilcox.
Jerry served in the United States Navy during World War II (1943 to 1946) as an Electronic Technician, training first at Duke University before boarding the USS Sea Poacher submarine. Afterwards, he obtained his college degrees from the University of Wisconsin, culminating in 1953 with a doctorate in Soils and Plant Physiology. From 1953-1956, Jerry worked as an agronomist at the North Louisiana Experiment Station, doing research on the conversion of cotton farming to grassland farming.
In 1957, Dr. Wilcox joined the faculty of Purdue University in the department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, retiring in 1990. During his tenure at Purdue, Jerry operated the greenhouse soil testing lab and conducted research on vegetable nutrition and hydroponics. He was especially known for his research on the mechanical harvest of tomatoes, finding a breed that ripened simultaneously and could withstand the trauma of harvest. He received the Romanowski Award for his contributions to Indiana Food Processors.
Jerry is survived by his dear companion of 24 years, Elaine, with whom he enjoyed ballroom dancing, travelling extensively across the US and around the world, gardening and playing bridge.
He is also survived by his 3 children, Susan Lisack of Lafayette, IN, Philip (Terri) Wilcox of Akron, OH, and Nancy Wilcox of Lafayette, IN, by grandchildren Karen Teller, Jeffrey (Misty) Schwingendorf, Nichole (Jim) Collum, Aaron (Ashley) Wilcox, Patrick Wilcox, James (Bethany) O’Connor, and Beau (Sherry) O’Connor, 12 great-grandchildren, and 2 brothers, Forest (Beth) and Marlyn Wilcox.
Jerry was preceded in death by 2 brothers, Clifford and Arnold, and grandson, Cory O’Connor.
A service of remembrance and celebration will be at noon on Saturday, December 2 at Flanner Buchanan Oaklawn Memorial Gardens (Good Shepherd Chapel), 9700 Allisonville Rd., Indianapolis IN 46250, with visitation one hour prior to the service.
In lieu of flowers, a contribution to the Alzheimer's Association, 50 E 91st St #100, Indianapolis, IN 46240 would be appreciated