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Jerry Dodgen - 1931-2011
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By saxfiend
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From Decatur, GA
Dec 6, 2011
Relaxing at the P1 belay of Fruit Loops at Rumbling Bald.

I'm sad to report the passing of Jerry Dodgen yesterday. A fixture of southern climbing for many years, Jerry lost a long struggle with prostate cancer. He was 80 years old.

Jerry was a life-long athlete, having also been a gymnast and hang glider. He came to climbing fairly late in life, starting when he was 58. When I met him, he was in his 70s and leading 5.10 trad lines; as late as last winter, he was still making the long hike up to T-Wall, though he was no longer leading. He never gave up -- his last climbing trip was just three weeks ago.

Being a late-starting old geezer myself, Jerry was one of my early inspirations. I hope I can keep at it as long as he did. Rest in peace, JD.

JL

PS -- Check out this profile of Jerry on John Gill's website.


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By Rich Farnham
Dec 6, 2011

Wow, so sorry to hear that! Thanks for posting the announcement. I live in CO and wouldn't have heard about it otherwise.

I worked for Jerry as an instructor at the Challenge climbing school back in '95-'96. We ran many courses together, but also spent many days just climbing (no clients). I always enjoyed hanging out with him. He always seemed to be having so much fun.

I have many fond memories from Rocktown and T-wall, among others. Also, I remember getting to put up a new 2-pitch line with him and Rob Slaughter at Jerry's property. Jerry purchased a piece of that classic Tenessee sandstone cliffline near Chattanooga. Can't remember where it was anymore, but it was a great day of climbing with two good friends.

We'll miss you Jerry!

Unfortunately, all my pictures from that era are in my storage unit. I'll post some later.


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