Jerome Gerald Alpiner died peacefully at home on December 31, 2022. Born April 19, 1932, he was 90 years old.
Missing his quick smile, dry sense of humor, kindness, generosity and support are his loving wife of 38 years, Victoria, his children, Steve, Susan Stewart, Sharon (Dan) Cutler, and David; Fred (Candice) Manley and Cindy (Aitor) Urreta, Suzanne Corzine, and Jen Wintersteen; grandchildren Ben and Shayna Stewart, Rachel (Justin) Wenzel, Anna Cutler, Eleanor and Matthew (Elsa) Wintersteen, Taylor and Dan Urreta, Timothy (Kelly) and Ryan Manley, Tyler Corzine and Grace (David) Palko. Nieces and nephews, Sam, Jeff, and Marcia Wilcof. He is preceded in death by Judith, his first wife of 26 years, son-in-law Bill Stewart, daughter-in-law Carol Alpiner, grandson Andrew Urreta, sister and brother-in-law Rosetta and Raymond Wilcof.
Jerry was born in Massillon, Ohio, home of his beloved Massillon Tigers football team. A motivated student and captain of the debate team, he went on to receive his BA from Heidelberg College in Tiffin, OH, his MA from Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, OH, and his Ph.D from Ohio University in Athens, OH.
Jerry was an innovator and leader in rehabilitative audiology. He was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions in the field. He was also recognized as a Fellow at ASHA (The American Speech and Hearing Association), one the highest honors bestowed upon members. Additionally, he was a past president of the Academy of Rehabilitative Audiology. He helped thousands of people, young and old, hear better and lead happier and more productive lives.
Jerry served in the U.S. Army for two years before starting his career as a Speech and Hearing Specialist for the Alpena, MI Public School System. He then joined the Cleveland VA as Assistant Chief of Audiology and Speech Pathology before joining Case Western Reserve University as Assistant Clinical Professor and Supervisor of Adult Aural Rehabilitation. From there, Jerry joined the staff at Northern Illinois University as Associate Professor and Director of Audiology. He then accepted a position at the University of Denver as Professor and Chairman, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology. His teaching career culminated at Ole Miss as Chairman of the Communication Science and Disorders Department. He was a popular and respected professor and mentor everywhere he taught, often inviting university “orphans” home to celebrate the holidays with his family.
After leaving academia, Jerry returned to Colorado to lead the Speech and Hearing Department at Porter Hospital. He and Vicki bought the Taylor Hearing Center in Cherry Creek, which they ran together until he accepted a position with the VA Hospital in Denver. He then led the Audiology Departments at the Birmingham, AL and Sioux Falls, SD VA hospitals before returning to Colorado for good. When Jerry retired, he continued to help others with their hearing needs as a volunteer at Friends of Man and at Hear Now. Jerry’s expertise lives on in the many college textbooks he authored.
Jerry loved all things family and was quick to embrace family fun in the many forms it took. Among his favorite pastimes, riding the rails! Whether an afternoon on the Georgetown Loop Railway, a weekend getaway to Glenwood Springs with his kids, or a days long adventure to Ohio with family to visit family, he was always game to watch the scenery roll by, eat in the dining car, and sleep in a sleeper car.
He also loved bicycling and rode thousands of miles a year. Even more impressive, he could stand on a pedal, shove off, and swing his other leg over the top tube of his bike well into his 80’s! His two-wheeled adventures took him and Vicki on the bike paths of Sioux Falls, Denver, Glenwood Springs and Summit County. A favorite adventure was joining family atop Vail Pass and riding down to Vail for lunch. He never did ride back up that hill!
Camping was another passion. As a young father, he’d pack the patched green army tent and Coleman sleeping bags into the station wagon, load the family and head to Jefferson Lake, his favorite campground and fishing hole. He fell back in love with camping later in life and bought a tent trailer so he and Vicki could continue to explore the beauty of the area and get away from it all.
We are all so lucky to have had Jerry/Dad/Papa/Uncle in our lives. He was a wonderful, kind, loving, generous, and patient husband. As a father, he was always encouraging, supportive, appreciative and accepting, and even helped Dave start a landscape business. He liked to be called Pop, Daddy-O, Big D, Dr. Decibel, and Nick. He was an incredible role model, and despite the many successes and the accolades he received throughout his career, he remained humble, thoughtful, empathetic, and compassionate. He instilled in us solid core values, a remarkable work ethic, honesty, integrity, and punctuality, and continued to remind us that there is no such thing as a free lunch!
Jerry was a founding member of Beth Shalom Synagogue in Littleton, Colorado. May his memory be a blessing forever. Yihi Zichrono Liv’racha.
Jerry is off riding the rails again, charting new territory on his next adventure. We’ll think of him often, and every time we hear that lonesome train whistle blow, we'll stop for a moment to remember...
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Friends of Man organization. A celebration of his life will be held in the Spring.