FOLKSTON, GA, USA U.S. Army SGT, COMPANY C, 648TH ENG BN, 48TH INF BDE (TF BAGHDAD), STATESBORO, GA BAGHDAD, IRAQ 08/03/2005
Jerry Lewis Ganey, Jr. was born in Waycross, GA to Mother, Beth, and Father, Jerry Sr. “Lewie” spent most his life in Charlton County and graduated from Charlton County High in 1993. An imposing man, he stood well over six feet and weighed more than 17 stone. Lewie had a big appetite for life and food. He jokingly referred to Sunday as “Fat Day” and used to make the rounds of dinner tables with family and friends.
He joined the Marines after graduation and returned to Georgia after his discharge. He then enlisted in the Army National Guard and served with the 648th Engineer Battalion, 48th Infantry Brigade, Statesboro, Georgia.
In December 2004, he and his sweetheart of 3 years, Debra, secretly married at the courthouse near her hometown of Alma. They wanted a period of quiet adjustment before he deployed to Iraq. Each had been married previously and their blended family numbered four. In addition to being a husband, Lewie became stepfather to Jay Michael, then 14. The two would roughhouse for hours and enjoyed the outdoors – particularly four wheeling. Debra became both wife and stepmother to Vanessa Elizabeth, then 6. They had plans for a more formal wedding after Ganey returned from his Iraqi tour.
Wednesday, August 3rd 2005, started as just another day in war-torn Iraq. Sergeant Ganey and his fellow soldiers set out on a motorized patrol in the area of Baghdad, Iraq.
On Thursday, 4 August, Debra Ganey was feeling uneasy, as she had not gotten her daily call from her husband. Seeing Military officials at the door, she begged her son to keep them away. Her fears materialized as she learned that insurgents had detonated a car-borne explosive near her husband’s armored personnel carrier. Lewie and three other soldiers perished in the blast.
A large throng gathered at Camp Pinckney Baptist Church on Sunday August 14. Rev. Rob Coram and Chaplain Don McDaniel led family and friends in celebrating the life – and mourning the passing – of Sergeant Jerry Lewis Ganey, Jr. His earthly wartime patrols are over. Lewie is at peace in Little Phoebe Cemetery in Folkston, GA.