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Dempsey


Lt. Col. Frederick Gerard (Jerry) Dempsey, USA (Ret.) died at age 98 Monday, Jan. 13, 2020, in Danville. Mr. Dempsey, of Lexington, Burgin and Danville, was an Army combat veteran of WWII and Korea and a career regular army officer. He landed in the assault on Omaha Beach D+2 in Normandy, France and fought in combat in the Battle of the Bulge. Six years later, he came ashore in the Korea Inchon combat landing. He spent more than two years in combat service in Europe and another year in combat in Korea. Among his 10 decorations, he earned the Bronze Star Medal. He was a field artilleryman. Mr. Dempsey was born to John Henry and Mae Ella McDede Dempsey in Highlands, New Jersey on Sept. 23, 1921. He was the second youngest of 15 siblings. Jerry entered the U.S. Army in 1943, and was commissioned through OCS. He met his future wife, Rosalie Laura “Lee” Esser of Cleveland, Ohio, while they were both in the army during the war. They were married in 1946. Following his Korean service, the growing Dempsey family was stationed in Japan; Fort Sill, Oklahoma; Vicenza, Italy; and Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. After this, he completed his bachelor’s degree at the University of Nebraska, Omaha and the family moved to Fortress Monroe, Virginia with a final assignment as the Commander of the 2nd Battalion, 11th Field Artillery Regiment at Fort Campbell. He retired from active duty in 1965. “One of the highlights of my military service was finding my brother Buddy after he had been wounded at Luneville, France during World War II. It was through sister Viola’s efforts that I was made aware of the situation and was able to locate him and placate our family,” he said. Mr. Dempsey and family then moved to Lexington, where he was employed by the University of Kentucky as Director of Safety and Security, serving as police chief and fire marshal. As a DOD civilian employee, the “Old Man” was posted to Vietnam. He then went on to a career with OSHA in Tampa, Florida; Louisville; and retiring as the regional director, in Des Moines, Iowa. He retired to his farm in Mercer County, where he enjoyed being a gentleman farmer and woodworker, researching his family tree, and hosting family and 159th Field Artillery Rocket Battalion reunions. He was married to the late Lee Dempsey for 64 years and provided her with loving care in the last years of her life. They are survived by their children, Lawrence “Larry” (Terry) Paul, Longmont, Colorado; Frederick (Diann) G. “Terry” Jr., Grayson, Georgia; Laura (Bobby) Lee Riddle, Midway; Linda (Jon) Lou Dempsey-Hall, Lexington; Deborah “Debbie” (Charlie) Ann Edwards, Edinboro, Pennsylvania; and John August, Lexington. Mr. Dempsey also leaves behind six grandchildren, Jamie and David (Hollis) Dempsey; Jon (Brandy) Hall Jr.; Charles Jr., Sam Edwards, and Molly (Andy) Edwards Soltis. The Dempsey’s also have three great-grandchildren, Jamison and Bailey Hall, and Corbin Dempsey. Jerry is also survived by his 105-year-old sister, Helen Sloan; and numerous nieces and nephews. The family would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers as well as the staff at Camp Nelson National Cemetery, Clark Legacy Center and St. Luke Catholic Church. We also want to especially thank long-term dedicated caregivers and companions Dereck Whitis and Carol Taylor, along with the entire team at McDowell Place in Danville. God bless you all. Visitation with light refreshments will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12, at Clark Legacy Center, Brannon Crossing, with a rosary service at 4:30 p.m. Following a funeral Mass at St. Luke Catholic Church, Nicholasville, at 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, burial with military honors will commence at Camp Nelson National Cemetery. Pallbearers will be his five grandsons and Dereck Whitis. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you make any contributions in Jerry’s name to Folds of Honor.

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