Dr. Jere A. Wysong was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and a respected teacher and friend full of love, humor, and compassion. He died peacefully on August 16, 2020 in North Reading, MA, surrounded by loving family.
Born in 1939 in Fairmount, Indiana to Ercel Nadine (Bunch) and Everett Wysong, older brother to sisters Janet and Janice, Jere was raised with an abiding faith, a love for learning, and a hard work ethic. He worked in the summers with his father at Wysong Masonry with the hod carriers and brick layers, introduced to a brotherhood he would cherish his entire life. In Fairmount, hometown of James Dean, he also began his lifelong love of literature, music, and theater.
After graduating Fairmount High School, Jere attended Wabash College, where, true to the college’s code, he became a scholar and a gentleman, although he delighted in engaging in merry hijinks with his Kappa Sigma fraternity brothers. Jere graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor’s degree in English literature and theater. A poet and an aspiring actor, he decided instead to pursue graduate degrees in sociology, inspired by the civil rights movement.
Jere received his master’s degree and PhD from Purdue University. From 1968–1971 he was professor of sociology at The Ohio State University, during those turbulent years on the nation’s campuses. From 1972-1973, Jere was the director of social analysis at the National Center for Health Service Research and Development in Washington, D.C. He resumed his academic career at the State University of New York at Fredonia in 1973 as professor of sociology. At Fredonia State he was assistant to the dean for arts and sciences from 1975–1978 and was director of the health services administration program from 1992–2002. In 1987–1988 he held a Fulbright Senior Lectureship at Philips University, Marburg, Germany. Jere served as president of the Health Systems Agency of Western New York 1979–1983 and was appointed to the New York State Governor’s Health Advisory Council in 1981. He authored or coauthored numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals over his long career, with a focus on public health policy. He retired as professor emeritus in 2006.
In 1961 Jere married the love of his life, Jade, and together they embarked on a 59-year journey that included four children, eight grandchildren, four great-grandchildren; took them on nineteen moves across 4 states and one move abroad to Germany; and took them to such far-flung places as Italy, Budapest, and Japan. Most of all they delighted in family and in each other. In Fredonia, Jere and Jade created a home full of love, warmth, and laughter for their children, Mark, Jon, Lara, and Michelle, and for the many friends who joined them around the kitchen table for dinners, Catch Club sing-alongs, and the many Christmas Eves that ended with a raucous round of carols and shots of peppermint schnapps.
Jere’s commitment to the Fredonia community was evident in the many organizations he supported, but none was more important than youth soccer. Fulfilling a promise he made to his sons that they could continue to play soccer when they moved to Fredonia, Jere was instrumental in helping found the youth soccer league. For years the Wysong house on Central Avenue was filled with boxes of t-shirts, soccer balls, and tube socks, and crisp fall weekends were spent on the soccer fields on the campus of SUNY Fredonia.
Jere was a loving and generous husband, father, grandfather, and friend. His energy, compassion, and humor will be deeply missed.
Jere is survived by his beloved wife Jade; son Mark Wysong and his wife Lucy of Richmond, VA; son Jon Wysong and his wife Tracy of Fredonia, NY; daughter Lara Wysong of Boston, MA; daughter Michelle Stepper and her husband Eric of Andover, MA; and his sister Janice Hanes and her husband Art of Fairmount, IN. He is also survived by his eight grandsons, Danny, Brian, Thomas, Sean, Ryan, Theo, Zachary, and Joshua; as well as his three great-granddaughters, Violet, Phoebe, and Sheila, and one great-grandson, Joseph. He is also survived by loving in-laws, nephews, nieces, and a host of long-time friends. He was predeceased by his parents and his sister, Janet.
A private family service is planned. Jere’s family will host a celebration of his life when it is safe for us all to gather together again. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Jere’s memory to the Men’s Soccer Booster Club, Fredonia State Athletics, 120 Dods Hall, Fredonia NY 14063.
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