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MARBLE HILL, Mo. -- Jerry L. Shell, 72, of Baton Rouge, La., passed away Friday, July 23, 2010.
He was born Aug. 13, 1937, in Glenallen, Mo., and later moved to Lutesville, Mo., where he grew up and attended school. He was always proud to have made kindergarten, first and second grades all in the same year.
Shell was always known as an achiever in everything he did, and proudly earned not only the Boy Scouts of America's highest honor, the rank of Eagle Scout, but an additional three Palms. After his high school graduation at age 16, he joined the U.S. Army, where he proudly served as combat engineer and Green Beret 22 years.
He served in Korea, two tours in Vietnam, Germany, Central and South America and Alaska. He was hand-picked over his peers by his superior officers to lead more missions than anyone. Shell was decorated with the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Army Commendation Medal 1st Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Good Conduct Medal six times, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with 60th Division, Joint Meritorious Unit Awards, Vietnam Presidential Unit Citation, Army Presidential Unit Citation, Army Meritorious Unit Commendation, Vietnam Gallantry Cross unit Citation and two overseas Service Bars. His last assignment before retirement was the Army National Guard in West Virginia, stationed in Charleston.
Shell was wounded in Vietnam but refused to leave his men and seek medical attention. He would have been awarded the Purple Heart for his wounds, but his unwavering courage would not allow him to leave those he served with. Shell lived his life with that same attitude.
After his dedicated service to his country, he was shop foreman at Matlack Trucking Lines (Pipeline on Wheels) in Baton Rouge. He was a member of Florida Boulevard Baptist Church, Sergeant Majors Association, VFW Post 3784, Disabled American Veterans, American Legion, USDR, NAUS, 14th Engineers Battalion and other military organizations.
Shell is survived by his devoted and loyal wife, Irma; his children, Joy and Pappy, David, Troyce and Ralph, Jerrylea and Jeff, Jessica and Ken, and his youngest daughter, "Missy"; grandchildren, Nathan and Cheryl, Colby and Heather, Ben, Zak, Megan, Reily, Justin, Jody, Christy and Mat, Alyssa, Monica, Dana, Stephanie, Jesse-James, Jerrett, Lars and Sven; and great-grandchildren; Brandon, Dylan, Joshua, Aurora and Gabriel, as well as the mother of his three daughters, Rita Shell.
He was preceded in death by his father and mother, Omar and Margaret Shell; a brother, Omar Jr. "Sarge," and a sister, Anne Rice.
He will be sorely missed by all who've met and loved him and his ready wit.
The family will receive friends at 10 a.m. Thursday at Liley Funeral Home in Marble Hill.
A graveside service will be held at noon Thursday at Bollinger County Memorial Park Cemetery, with full military honors.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to Florida Boulevard Baptist Church, Generations Hospice or the Heart Association.
The family offers a very, very special thank you to the staff at Generations Hospice and those who served him well, with special thanks to Rosa, Paula, Lacey, Desiree, Roxanne and Brother Elmo.