Jerry John Thomas, long time Cincinnati radio/tv personality, passed away on December 8, 2022. At age 19, Jerry started his radio career as a disc jockey in Paris, KY playing records and developing his patter. After a short stint in Louisville, he was hired by WKRC in 1962 when it was owned by Taft Broadcasting. Through many management and ownership changes, Jerry remained with the station until retiring 2006. Jerry's show included a cast of characters he created and voiced, the most notable being Granny. Known for her quick come-backs and witty repartee with Jerry, Granny was indeed his alter ego. Jerry was such a master of conversing with Granny, many of his listeners were convinced she was a real person. In the 1960s, "they" made a record called "Granny's Holiday Fruitcake," worked with Bob Jones doing "Improbable Interviews" and performed at local night clubs. Granny remained a staple on Jerry's show until WKRC shifted to a political talk format in the 1980s. At that point, Jerry also retired his "joke of the day" and "punch lines you missed" features which many listeners remember to this day.
In addition to his radio show, Jerry also worked in television, hosting afternoon movies, "Bowling for Dollars" and the popular PM Magazine. After retiring, his son Brian took over hosting the morning show. In an effort to keep his mother sane by giving his dad an outlet beyond her ears, Jerry's "Monday Morning Spleen Vent" was born and became a listener and host favorite segment for years.
Jerry's 5 a.m. - 9 a.m. work hours allowed him to pursue his passion for golf and he was usually on the course before noon most days. Consequently, he held the several-years-running record at Western Hills Country Club for most rounds played and he was proud of his 3 hole-in-ones. He was a member of the Western Hills CC Board of Directors, served as its President, and served on the board of Naples Lakes CC in Naples, FL. Golf also extended into his charitable work. He was President of Greater Cincinnati Golf and First Tee and was a member of the Western Golf Association/Evans Scholars Board of Directors. Beyond golf, Jerry regularly volunteered his emcee talents for numerous charitable events, and he was particularly proud of his 25-year stint with the Delhi Skirt Game. Jerry also loved coaching little league baseball.
Jerry was always interested in politics and even rejected an opportunity to run for office because it would have required him quitting radio. However, over the years he proudly served as member of Delhi Zoning Board, the Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission and the Hamilton County Zoning Board.
Jerry was born November 11, 1939, the only child of John (Pat) and Nancy Crusham who both preceded him in death. Jerry leaves his devoted wife of 62 years, Joan, who he loved more than his golf game. Also left to grieve his passing: his daughter, Lisa, a retired Cincinnati Police Lieutenant; his daughter-in-law CPD Lt. Stephenie Fassnacht; his son, Brian and wife Paulette; and his two grandchildren, namesake Jerry and Lauren. Whether teaching them to fish, play a game, or vacationing together, spending time with his grandchildren gave Jerry the greatest joy. Jerry was the dear brother-in-law of Mike and Glenna Marsh, Garry and Rhonda Marsh and Scott & the late Julia Marsh all of Lexington, KY, and an uncle/great uncle to nine, and many cherished cousins.
The family asks that you consider directing memorials made in his name to the Alzheimer Association, 225 No. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60601 (www.alz.org) or Jerry's favorite charity, The Western Golf Association/Evans Scholars Foundation, 2501 Patriot Blvd., Glenview, IL 60026-8022 (www.wgaesf.org) which provides free college education to qualifying caddies. Services are private and at the convenience of the family. www.springgrove.orgAdditional Links
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