Jerry was born in Evanston, Illinois, to Jerry W. Fickes Sr. and the late Jo Ann Geist Fickes. He moved to Overland Park, Kansas, as a young boy and grew up collecting baseball cards and enjoying neighborhood football games on the front lawn. While at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, studying computer science and mathematics, he met his wife, Laura. They were blessed with two sons, Benjamin and Joshua.
Jerry served his country proudly as a U.S. Army airborne infantry officer. His first career was in the financial services industry. He was an actuary at Old American Life Insurance Company in Kansas City, Missouri, and later moved to Delaware as an actuary for American Life Insurance Company (ALICO). He received his Fellowship from the Society of Actuaries and began consulting for Ernst & Young in Philadelphia. As a lifelong learner, he also earned his Chartered Financial Analyst designation.
While working for ALICO, he became a volunteer firefighter with Aetna Hose Hook & Ladder Company in Newark, Delaware, to fulfill a desire to serve his community. He served in many roles, including assistant chief. In December 2003, his interest in the fire service and helping others led to a full-time career with the Wilmington Fire Department, where he was assigned to engine and rescue companies. He was a member of the Delaware Air Rescue Team, receiving his helicopter rescue certification, the Critical Incident Management Team, and the Tactical Marine Operators Team. On September 24, 2016, he responded with WFD Squad 4 to a row house fire and became trapped by a floor collapse while attempting to rescue a fellow firefighter.
Throughout his life, Jerry’s strong faith in God guided him. He is remembered for his dedication and love for his family, for humbly helping others, for his firehouse pranks and completion of crossword puzzles, and for his genuine interest in the many people, young and old, that were woven into his life.
He is greatly missed by his wife, Laura; his best friends and sons, Benjamin and Joshua; his father, Jerry Fickes Sr.; his siblings and their spouses, Karen and Frank Perkins, Steven and Karen Fickes, Jeri Fickes and Scot McBroom, Kimberly and David Thompson, and David and Donna Fickes; and his nieces and nephews.