Our dearest Dr. Jerry Blaylock went to be with her Lord and Savior on May 16, 2011 at Christopher House Hospice in Austin. Jerry was born on March 21, 1930 in San Angelo, TX. She was the daughter of the late William Arley and Alpha Spencer Blaylock of Eldorado, TX.
Dr. Blaylock enjoyed a varied and distinguished career in nursing.
She received four academic degrees including a baccalaureate degree in physical education from Sul Ross University in Alpine, TX; a baccalaureate degree in nursing from Baylor University in Waco, TX; a master’s degree in nursing from The University of Texas Medical Branch School of Nursing in Galveston, TX; and a doctoral degree in Nursing Education from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York.
Dr. Blaylock started her long nursing career in public health in the South Texas valley, and then she worked at M. D. Anderson Cancer Hospital in Houston. She entered the field of nursing education at the University of South Carolina in Columbia; from there she went to the School of Nursing at the UT Medical Branch in Galveston.
From 1968 to her retirement in 1991, she was an Associate Professor at the School of Nursing at The University of Texas at Austin. She endeared herself to her many undergraduate and graduate students through her never-ending commitment to quality care for patients. Through her high standards, support, guidance, and wonderful gift of wit, she helped numerous novice nurses achieve goals they never dreamed possible. As an outstanding teacher and clinical role model, she was thrilled to be recognized with awards for teaching excellence eight times over her career. Consequently, many in the nursing profession remember her today as an important mentor and friend.
Dr. Blaylock also received numerous other honors. Among them was induction as a Fellow into the prestigious American Academy of Nursing. Additionally, she was recognized for her contributions to the rehabilitation of the mentally retarded by being named Outstanding Educator of the Year by the Association for Retarded Citizens.
Over the years, Jerry served on numerous professional committees and assumed leadership roles in various groups. Among them, she served as Faculty Adviser for The University of Texas at Austin Nursing Students’ Association. She also was Chairperson of the Committee to develop the Alternate Entry to the Master’s Program in Nursing, an alternative route for preparing well-qualified persons to enter the profession. This program remains extremely popular and its graduates are highly regarded by varied health care facilities.
Having grown up on a ranch, Jerry became an accomplished horseback rider in her early years. She participated in rodeos in Texas and South Carolina, winning several blue ribbons. Additionally, while competing against top riders from seven states, she won a regional championship in barrel racing.
Since her retirement, Jerry continued various humanistic endeavors. She remained active with the Association for Retarded Citizens, Special Olympics, and summer campaigns for Fans for the Elderly. She also served as a volunteer for Meals on Wheels, and ran errands and did grocery shopping for homebound elderly. Her compassion for older persons further extended to driving them to doctors’ appointments and visiting them in hospitals and nursing homes. Additionally, she always carried miniature cars and Dora dolls in her pocket to give young children in restaurants and other public places. Sometimes she rewarded them for their good behavior. On other occasions, the small gifts were used to distract children who were acting out. Either way, the surprised parents were pleased and grateful.
Jerry enjoyed traveling to Eldorado, TX to visit family and to Galveston, TX. She loved to feed the seagulls along the seawall and watch the brown pelicans dive for fish in the Gulf of Mexico. She was also fond of New Mexico, especially Red River.
Jerry has always been a true humanitarian whose presence made the world a better place, a consummate professional with a wonderful sense of humor and a fun story to tell, and a thoughtful and generous sister, aunt, and friend who will be greatly missed. Besides her parents, her brother, Billy Frank Blaylock, a younger sister, Judy Blaylock, and a nephew, Mark Nikolauk, predeceased her. She is survived by her sister and brother-in-law, Ebba and John Nikolauk of Eldorado; nephews Mike, Bill, and Brett Nikolauk of San Angelo and Steve Blaylock of Midland; nieces Frankie Hardy of Irving, TX, Billie Gayle Gray of Kerrville, TX, and Eva Jo Sessom of Eldorado and their families, and her sister-in-law Mabel Blaylock of San Angelo. Additionally, she leaves her life-long and devoted friend, Dr. Bonnie Rickelman of Austin. Further, a host of faculty colleagues, former nursing students, and community friends mourn her loss.
Jerry’s family and Dr. Rickelman extend heartfelt thanks to the nurses, doctors, and staff at Hospice Austin’s Christopher House and to the dear friends who were steadfast at her side—SR. Joan Reisch, Dr. Barbara Petrosino, Dr. Marlene Weitzel, Jeanette Wolf and Betty Thomas.
The family will receive friends from 3:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M., Thursday, May 19, 2011 with Services to follow at 4:00 P.M. in the Chapel of Cook-Walden/Forest Oaks Funeral Home with Rev. Peter Castles officiating.
Graveside Services will be at 10:30 A.M., Saturday, May 21, 2011 at Eldorado Cemetery in Eldorado, TX.
Those wishing to make memorial contributions in honor of Dr. Blaylock may do so by sending them to the School of Nursing, The University of Texas at Austin, 1700 Red River, Austin, TX 78701, (512)471-7311, www.utexas.edu/nursing or to Hospice Austin, 4107 Spicewood Springs Road, Suite 100, Austin, TX 78759, (512)342-4700, www.hospiceaustin.org.
Condolences may be made at www.cookwaldenforestoaks.com.
Arrangements under the care of Cook-Walden/Forest Oaks Funeral Home, 6300 W. William Cannon Drive, Austin, Texas 78749, (512) 892-1172.