Community members mourn the loss of Jerry Will

Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 6:41 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - People around the Rockingham County area are mourning the loss of Gerald “Jerry” Will who was killed in a two-vehicle crash Wednesday night.

Will was known as a long-time instructor at Massanutten Technical Center and known for his work with the Clover Hill Bucks of the Rockingham County Baseball League.

Anyone who regularly attends Bucks games has probably seen Jerry Will cooking his famous Buck Burgers on the grill. He had been with the Bucks for over 30 years in various capacities and was beloved by the Clover Hill Community.

“Jerry was a great guy, great human being first off. His family has been a huge part of our community with the concession stand,” said Kevin Chandler, manager of the Clover Hill Bucks.

Will had been a Clover Hill Bucks Board member since the 1980s. Chandler said he always loved hearing Will’s stories about the organization’s history and it’s changed over time.

Tyler Conley has played for the Bucks for several years and said that Will was the blood of the organization and always went out of his way to talk to and connect with the players.

“He was always asking everyone how they were doing, he just loved interacting with the players and seeing the new guys come through. He was really involved with player relationships and was basically the liaison between the players and the fans who have been coming to the ballpark for years,” said Conley.

Over the last 20 years, Will became best known at the ballpark for grilling burgers on a long grill he built himself and operating the concession stand with his family.

“He just made it what it was supposed to be, it’s a family event from the beginning. Jerry welcomed you there and you knew he was gonna have a burger ready for you,” said Whitney Cofer, who has been a Bucks board member for the last 15 years.

Will touched many lives at the ballpark over the years and always created a welcoming environment.

“He just made a point to let you know you were important. It didn’t matter who you were, everybody was important to him and he just welcomed everybody to the field, he was one of the first sites you’d see at the field,” said Cofer.

Cofer first met Will when she and her husband Chris moved to the area when she was 19, and over the years he became family.

“I was missing talks with my parents and Jerry would come sit on the porch with me and he kind of filled that role too. He was just an invaluable member of my family, we weren’t related but he was family,” she said.

Cofer said that Will watched her children grow up and he was there to help her family when she lost her husband, then Bucks manager Chris Cofer, in 2020.

“My husband’s death was sudden and I had to make a lot of decisions and Jerry helped me decide even what to do with my husband’s body. We had a celebration of life for him at the ballpark a couple of months after he passed and we chose Jerry as kind of our pastor,” she said.

Cofer said Will had a great sense of humor and she hopes people remember him as someone who loved life.

“The last thing we talked about on Tuesday night was that he’d gotten four heirloom tomatoes for six dollars and he was so excited to go home and eat those tomatoes. Just something as simple as that, Jerry just loved life and he was full of life,” she said.

For the last 20 years, Will worked as an instructional assistant in the collision repair program at Massanutten Technical Center where he made a major impact.

“He was just loved by everybody, whether it was a staff member, whether it was a student, whether it was people from the community. He was so supportive of everything we did as a school whether it was an initiative or any of the extra projects that we took on he was always supportive,” said MTC Director Kevin Hutton.

Hutton said that Will was much more than a teacher and that students and staff alike will always remember his kindness.

“The biggest thing about Jerry was his heart and his love and support for everybody. He was always someone you could rely on but more importantly, he just cared about everybody,” said Hutton.

MTC also sent out the statement below about Will’s passing.

Jerry Will was a beloved member of the MTC Family. He spent close to 2 decades here as our Collision Repair instructional assistant, and wore many hats throughout the years. He will be deeply missed, and was an irreplaceable asset to our school and community. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this very difficult time

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