Mr. Gerald (Jerry) L. Stratton, 83, of Flowery Branch, passed away Friday, October 8, 2021 at Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton Campus.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 14, 2021 at The Main Sanctuary of Free Chapel Worship Center on Mc Ever in Gainesville. Rev. Jentezen Franklin will officiate. Interment will follow at Memorial Park South Cemetery. The family will receive friends in the sanctuary at Free Chapel from 10:00 a.m. until 10:45 a.m. on Thursday.
Born on March 6, 1938 in Hettick, Illinois, he was the son of the late Wyman R. “Russell” and Doris A. (Clevenger) Stratton. Mr. Stratton graduated college with a Master’s in Business. He was the Chairman of Alliance Group and CEO of Living Benefits Solutions.
Mr. Stratton was a proud veteran of the United States Air Force, and a dedicated member of Free Chapel Worship Center.
In addition to his parents, Mr. Stratton is preceded in death by his sister, Bettie Jean Stratton, and his first wife, Sharon (Woolley) Stratton.
Mr. Stratton is survived by his wife, Molly Davis Stratton of Flowery Branch; daughter and son-in-law, Laura and Walter Willis of Braselton; daughter and son-in-law, June and Paul Hembling of Pearland, TX; son and daughter-in-law, Jonathan and Amy Stratton of Sheffield, AL; stepson, Michael Chetham; grandchildren, Morgan and Kyle Cousino; 2nd Lt. USAF Eric Hembling; sister, Donna Whitt; as well as nieces, Kimberly Cline and Tish Mallicoat.
Gerald was an entrepreneur from the age of 7 when he suggested to the local dime store owner that his shelves were in need of a good dusting and he could help him out with that after school for ten cents a week. Jerry stayed steadily employed and upwardly mobile from that time on.
He never lost the thrill of building a business into something better, bigger, and more profitable than people ever imagined. Yet, he never passed up an opportunity to share with people in need, young entrepreneurs, and family. He loved mentoring, donating to, and investing in people of all walks of life. He was ever an optimist who continually believed that the best is yet to come. He viewed discouraging events as mere bumps on the road to success. With his heartfelt encouragement and mentoring skills he found his greatest satisfaction was building organizations of people, coaching them to reach their full potential.
As a parent, brother, and grandparent, he was no less of a life coach and encourager; teaching family the time-honored methods of setting goals, and making 1, 3, 5 and 10 years plans to reach them. He also modeled resilience and the value of having a plan B when you encounter setbacks along the way. He was not unacquainted with setbacks and failures; but he never defined himself by them. Likewise, he never judged others by their failures; but instead valued their persistence. In times of crisis he often told people, “You are not alone. You will get through this. We will get this done. I can help with that.” From boyhood, he creatively found ways to assist others in need.
He loved history and reading biographies, specifically World War II history books. That generation was one he admired for their optimism, hard work and resilience in the face of overwhelming odds.
A member of various baseball, basketball, and football teams throughout his youth, he also played football for Augustana College prior to entering the Air Force. He continued to work out almost every morning for the rest of his life, priding himself on reaching fitness goals as much as business goals.
His strength and optimism served him well when faced with a diagnosis of Lymphoma. Enduring much over the next few years, he reached his goal of having zero lymphoma markers and freedom from treatment in early 2020. On both good and bad days, he woke up joyfully looking forward to going to his office; meeting the next goal; earning the next bonus; booking his next trip to some foreign shore; and chatting with the people on his team about their lives and adventures.
After work, he enjoyed returning to his comfortably elegant home and his loving wife, Molly. With Molly he found refuge. They frequently enjoyed going out to dinner (often joined by friends and family) and taking quick trips to their mountain home on weekends. There were many quiet weekends at home with Molly, just watching a ball game on TV or spending time reading.
Jerry loved his family unconditionally. He enjoyed his children, grandchildren, and cousins. He doted on his sister, Donna, making sure her every need was met, supporting her in reaching her goals and dreams, and including her on many trips with himself and Molly to distant locations. Jerry provided a safety net, a place to fall when life beat you up or dreams crashed and burned. He inspired you to pick yourself up, dust off your problems, and start over again.
His death has created a void in our lives. Yet, for people of faith, like his mournful family, his advice still holds true: the best is yet to come, and Jerry has gone before us to that place.
Memorial gifts may be made to MD Anderson Cancer Center of Houston, TX.
Arrangements in care of Memorial Park Funeral Home, 2030 Memorial Park Road, Gainesville, GA 30504.
Send online condolences to www.memorialparkfuneralhomes.com.