Jerry Nell Reeves Dempsey, “Nonnie,” 90, passed away peacefully Wednesday, January 17, 2024.
Jerry Nell was born December 18, 1933 in Wellington, Texas to William (“Bill”) and Pearl Bulls Reeves. She married Edwin Dempsey on June 19, 1953 in Wellington, Texas.
Jerry graduated from Wellington High School in 1949, and received her Bachelor’s degree in Education, from Texas Tech University in 1952. She began her teaching career in Andrews, Texas where she taught second grade. Within the first few weeks after school had begun, she made a wonderful friend who was a coach for the Andrews school system and whose name was Bonnie Cain. Bonnie had a plan, and that plan was to introduce her new colleague and friend, Jerry Reeves, to her brother, Ed, who was doing his medical residency in Andrews. Ed became the “man of Jerry’s dreams” and they were married within a year. Two years later, they moved to Odessa where Ed opened his own pediatric practice. Jerry was very instrumental in helping Ed get his practice started and worked as his office manager and bookkeeper for several years.
Throughout the years, Jerry developed a love for being active in her community. She was passionate about her church, St. Luke’s Methodist, where she taught Sunday School and served on numerous church committees. She devoted her life to helping others. Being a breast cancer survivor, she took an active part in the American Cancer Society and loved driving cancer patients to and from their chemo treatments. In addition, she spent several years driving meals to “locked in” community members, through Meals-on-Wheels.
Jerry was also a true “club” kind of gal. She was an active member of the Odessa Contemporary Study Club for several decades and she loved being in a bridge club with all of her close friends. Ed and she also enjoyed being members of special dinner and birthday clubs.
Through the years, since the births of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, she became affectionately known as “Nonnie.” She loved hosting her grandchildren for slumber parties at her home on 17th Street. Her creative and most favorite way to get them to FINALLY go to sleep, was to bribe them with a huge tray of snacks. These are special memories that will never fade away.
Jerry was a person who touched lives, her entire life. She had a wealth of friends who were just as precious and who ALL lived, to serve others.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Bill and Pearl Reeves, her husband, Ed Dempsey, her daughter, Susan Dempsey Hendricks, and her siblings, Gay McAlister and husband Bob, as well as her younger brother, Glen Reeves, her nephew Lynn Reeves, great nephew Bobby McAlister, great niece, Lindsay Williams and great-niece Chelsea Pace. She is survived by her daughter, Shelley Burger Rash, of Odessa, son-in-law, Jay Hendricks, of Odessa, grandchildren Brooke Hendricks, of Odessa Brady Hendricks, of Plano, Heidi Winkler and husband Clayton, of Midland, Trent Burger and fiancée Kelby Duncan, of Granbury, and Jennifer and Eli Rash of Soddy Daisy, Tennessee. She is also survived by niece, Rhea Ann Pace of Starkville, Mississippi, Patti Williams and husband, Ken, of Stephenville, Tx, nephew Billy McAlister and wife Darlene, of Lebanon, TN, niece Chris Laufer and husband, Jeff, of Midland, and niece Diane Warner and husband, Tom of Florida. Jerry was blessed with 4 great-grandchildren who loved her unconditionally. Maelynn Walker of Soddy Daisy, TN, Clayton Elliott Winkler 7, Gavyn Dempsey Green 6, and Taylor Rose Winkler, 4 of Midland and Odessa. The youngest three would take their toys and games to Nonnie’s, in hopes that she would play with them. She is also survived by a host of great nieces and nephews who live all over the United States. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to The American Cancer Society, The Bridge, or any organization that is most special to you.