Gerald “Jerry” Lafferty, 79, dies

Columbus, OH — Gerald “Jerry” Lafferty passed away peacefully in his home on March 17, 2024 in Huntingtown, Maryland at the age of 79.

Jerry was born on May 31, 1944 to parents Mary and Fred Lafferty, the youngest of seven children. Growing up on a farm in Rushford, New York without electricity or an indoor bathroom, Jerry enjoyed taking care of the many animals, especially the chickens. He learned to drive a horse and wagon when he was just seven years old, driving it as his father and older brothers loaded up hay from the field. He thought the funniest thing he ever did was riding the pigs bareback with his siblings.

He enjoyed playing basketball, football and soccer with his brothers and sisters, who nicknamed him “Rink.” He loved baseball the most, playing it throughout his childhood and listening to pro games on a battery-powered radio. Both parents were proud of his baseball skills and were his biggest fans; he eventually went on to play in the minor leagues.

Jerry’s first job was in his uncle’s cheese factory, where he had delivered milk daily with his father as a child. It also created a lifelong love of anything cheese.

Jerry lost his father at the young age of 11, and worked hard with his siblings and mother to keep the farm going. Jerry enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the age of 18 to help his widowed mother pay the bills, where he served for four and a half years on the USS Hornet as a flyboy. He rode in fighter aircraft, assisting the pilot by looking out for enemy aircraft, ships or vehicles and served in this role during Vietnam. His favorite ports of call were Hawaii, Australia and Hong Kong. After his military service, he took a job as an electrician with Motorola which enabled him to continue to support his mother and continued his career as an electrician until his retirement in 2006.

During Jerry’s first marriage, son Chris was born in 1968 memorably in the back seat of the car during a severe snow storm. Jerry’s fondest memories of Chris include fishing and boating, strawberry picking and watching his childhood football games.

After Chris married wife Nicole, they gave Jerry two beloved grandchildren in 2011, twins Brock and Brian.

Jerry and Tammy met in April 1984 at Rosecroft Raceway in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Jerry was racing horses and Tammy had gone with a friend to the track. Jerry and Tammy met up at the Port of Italy restaurant afterwards where Jerry made his move, and the rest is history! They married five years later and were together ever since.

Although Jerry and Tammy had no children together, Tammy enjoyed her role as stepparent to Chris and both enjoyed their ongoing close relationship with niece Shannon and her children, twins Justin and Jordan and daughter Gianna.

Throughout their marriage they shared a passion for animals, especially dogs and horses. As a trainer of standardbred horses, Jerry hooked Tammy on racing and together they owned a number of racehorses over the years. They made many friends at the track, but became very close with their current trainer and “adopted son” Timmy Offutt and his family. Jerry’s most memorable birthday was his 74th, where the Offutt’s hosted a party at their home complete with a cake topped with photos of his winning horses Brock N Brian and Fancy Fraternity.

Although they owned a number of wonderful dogs over the years, their favorites were the border collies – especially Bucky and Checkers. Although Checkers had a passion for destroying woodwork in their home, Jerry loved him like the four-legged son that he was and often slipped him food behind Tammy’s back. Checkers loved to join Jerry and Tammy at the track and on visits with their horses at the Offutt farm.

Jerry looked forward to his annual hunting trip with nephews Brad and Jason, although Tammy suspected there was more partying than hunting going on. He also enjoyed cooking, canning and vegetable gardening, sharing his fresh produce, homemade strawberry jam, pickles and beef jerky with family and friends. His bread and butter pickles were legendary. He enjoyed dining out, splurging on steak or lobster tails and indulging in the occasional dirty martini. He was renowned for his fiery Irish spirit and pure stubbornness, refusing help of any kind.

If you stopped by to visit, Jerry could be found watching detective shows or hanging out on his back deck enjoying a smoke, playing with the dogs and watching the deer, squirrels and birds. He kept his wild animal feeders well-stocked, and all the local wildlife enjoyed the daily buffet.

Jerry is survived by his beloved wife Tammy; son Chris Lafferty and his wife Nicole; brother Ted Lafferty; grandsons Brock Lafferty and Brian Lafferty; nephews Brad Lafferty, Jason Lafferty, Terry Lafferty, Christian Murphy, Gianluca Palermo, Giancarlo Palermo and Jimmy Judy; nieces Claire Clements, Laurie Lafferty-John, Angel Nicole Murphy, Sandy Perkins, Shannon Seabolt, Debbie Smith, Taylor Seabolt and Danielle Zulauf; sisters-in-law Lynn McCawley (Don McCardell), Michelle Murphy (Earl Murphy) and Penny Palermo (Ermanno Palermo); and “adopted son” Timmy Offutt (Debbie) and children Alexis and Dylan.

A private family interment will be held at Meadowridge Memorial Park in Elkridge, Maryland. A celebration of life for all friends and family is being planned for a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Standardbred Retirement Foundation

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