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Jerry Full, Palm Coast Founder and Exuberant Environmentalist, Is Dead at 86

| April 12, 2013

Jerry Full (family photo)

Jerry Full (family photo)

Jerry Full thought, spoke and lived at speeds defying limits, and lived lives as if he would never run out of them: a newspaperman, a congressional staffer, an Eastern Airlines PR man, an ITT Community Development Corp. executive, a president of the Flagler Chapter of the Florida Audubon Society, a member of the founding Palm Coast City Council–and a founder of the Palm Coast Yacht Club–and of course a husband and a father to a son and daughter.

Full died on March 28 in Ossining, N.Y. He was 86.

Full was part of the very first Palm Coast City Council in 1999, alongside Mayor Jim Canfield and council members Ralph Carter, Jim Holland and Bill Venne. Full would lose his seat to Jon Netts the week before the 9/11 attacks. Netts has been on the council since.

“Unlike some people who hold a grudge when you compete against them in an election, Jerry and I remained good friends,” Netts said, describing their common membership at the Yacht Club and their frequent encounters in social, cultural and other settings over the years. Full, Netts said, had three passions that never waned in his involvements locally: animal rights, culture and the arts, and environmentalism.

“Jerry was not only ardent about the things he supported, promoted, but he was an extraordinary gentleman,” Netts continued. “He lobbied for his issues but he did so in an extraordinarily gentlemanly, civil fashion. Not saying today that people today aren’t civil or gentlemanly,” but sometimes, Netts said, people’s passions can influence their behavior–something that did not happen with Full.

Full was also the last link with a history that straddled Palm Coast’s emergence under ITT and its incorporation as a city. The last member of the original council who’s still alive is Canfield.

Jerry Full’s obituary as provided by his family is below.

Jerome (Jerry) Kendrick Full passed away Thursday, March 28th at Cedar Manor Nursing Home in Ossining, New York. He was born November 2, 1926 in Winnetka, Illinois to parents George Dudley and May Ellen (Davis) Full.

He is survived by his brother, Elliott Full of San Juan Capistrano, California; two children, son Kevan Full (wife Chris) of Chappaqua, New York and daughter Frances Meyers (husband Peter) of Portland, Oregon. He leaves behind three grandchildren, Brennan & Tucker Full and Ellen Meyers, as well as many nephews and nieces.

Jerry loved the outdoors, which led him to do what he could to protect it. He was involved in conservation in Palm Coast, Florida, spearheading efforts to protect green spaces and develop a network of trails. He was a past president of the Flagler County Audubon Society and a legacy member of the Nature Conservancy.

As a lover of the outdoors, he stayed active enjoying it. He sailed wherever he lived – on the Great Salt Lake, the Chesapeake and Biscayne Bay and on Long Island Sound. Later in life he took up windsurfing, kayaking, and canoeing in Palm Coast and elsewhere in Florida. He hiked all over the world, including the Rockies, the Pyrenees, the Serengeti, and Mt. Kenya. He played tennis throughout his adult life and was a runner and skier. He enjoyed walking the trails near his home with whatever dog was his current companion.

Jerry always wanted to know what was going on in the world and was keen on debate. He read several local and national newspapers every day.

Jerry graduated from New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, joined the Navy as an electrician’s mate third class towards the end of World War II, serving in the Pacific theater. After the war, he attended college, earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois and did post-graduate studies in journalism at Northwestern University. While living in Chicago he met Robin Amsbary, an interior decorator working for Marshall Field & Co. They were later wed in Champaign, Illinois where Robin grew up. She passed away in 2007.

Early career moves included newspaper work in Laramie, Wyoming, Grand Junction, Colorado, and Salt Lake City, Utah. From 1963 to 1965 he worked as a congressional aide to Representative Sherman Lloyd of Utah, and then returned to Salt Lake doing freelance writing before changing career paths and starting public relations work with Eastern Air Lines in New York City. He worked for the airline for eight years, during which time he transferred to corporate headquarters in Miami, Florida. While at Eastern, he represented the company’s public face in a variety of ways, including unique experiences such as delivering money to hijackers and handling the aftermath of a crash in the Florida Everglades. His tenure at Eastern allowed him and his family to travel widely overseas, planting the seed for continued travel throughout his life. He managed to see more of this world than most, and by the end of his travels, it was easier to count the places he hadn’t visited.

After Eastern Air Lines, Jerry worked for several years in public relations in New York City, at one point working for a small firm that represented Ghana and Cameroon, allowing him to travel to Africa several times.

Jerry and Robin moved to Florida in 1982, where he worked for ITT Community Development Corporation until his retirement. His duties at ITT CDC included implementation of a transition from private governance of Palm Coast to a public one. An outgrowth of this work led him to run for a city council position in his retirement and serve for one term.

Throughout their time in Palm Coast, Jerry and Robin were civic leaders. They led a group called Movers & Shakers, and often hosted social events for that group at their home. They were founding members of the Palm Coast Yacht Club, members of the tennis club, and supporters of the local Humane Society. Jerry’s interest in conservation and politics was often manifested in articles in the local paper about his concerns as well as letters he wrote to editors of various newspapers and local & federal politicians. His criticisms were often tough, but he suggested solutions he felt were achievable and beneficial to the common good.

A memorial service will be held in Palm Coast, Florida at a time to be determined. Instead of flowers, the family suggests contributions to be made to the Nature Conservancy or the Audubon Society.

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7 Responses for “Jerry Full, Palm Coast Founder and Exuberant Environmentalist, Is Dead at 86”

  1. Will says:

    A wonderful man. He’s already missed.

  2. Michael Chiumento says:

    Jerry is (not was) one of a small group of people who founded our City. Despite many public and private debates, Jerry was always a gentleman and open to suggestion. No matter what, his heart is (not was) committed to making our community a better place. If you ever wonder about the history of our community, you should always include his name. He is an example of community service.

  3. PJ says:

    I got to know him he was a really nice man great for the community. RIP Jerry….PJ

  4. Happening now says:

    He worked very diligently preserving our county. Last of his kind. RIP.

  5. confidential says:

    Dear Jerry Full you sure are missed since you left for NY to be closer to your son in the sunset of your life. So many years you dedicated to the preservation of our Palm Coast and County, natural environment and wildlife. I remember you in 1998, day after day standing in our intercoastal front walkway handing us information flyers about the fact that if we didn’t fight for it and didn’t go to the meetings the developers buying those lands from ITT(that was leaving) wanted to shut off our intercoastal walkway north and south from the St Joe Canal. We were not a city yet and had to ask/beg our county commissioners one of them Hutch King to not give in, to the new land owners that wanted the closure of our walkway intercoastal front. Thanks to Jerry Full and the residents asking, commissioner Hutch King came and walked our water front walkway and got on board with us all for our common cause. All that section, from what today is owned by former Centex now Pulte in the north, passing the St Joe Canal and ending in our Water Front Park in the south we can still enjoy today.
    Without Jerry wising us with his flyers on hand we would have lost it! What about naming that water front park and its intercoastal front walkway “Jerry Full Water Front Walkway or Park” ? Would have been fair if we done it when he was still with us…But probably he will smile anyway now knowing how much he is remembered with his name for posterity in the walkways he fought hard, to preserve for all.

    Thank you Jerry!

  6. H.B. MEYERS says:

    JERRY AND I WORKED ON THE GJ SENTINEL TOGETHER SIXTY YEARS AGO..JERRY WAS A GOOD MAN AND A FINE INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, HE AND HIS WIFE,ROBIN AND MY WIFE AND I REMAINED CLOSE FRIENDS AS OUR CAREER PATHS DIVERGED. WE ARE PROUD THAT THEIR DAUGHTER IS OUR DAUGHTER-IN-LAW/.

  7. Mary Ann Clark says:

    His obituary didn’t mention that after the 1998 fires Jerry, with a donation from ITT, was instrumental in the beginnings of the Flagler County Education Foundation now an important organization that aids students while in school and helps them attain college educations. Years ago a small group of concerned citizens formed a group called the Flagler Forum which informally studied the needs of our growing county in all areas; Jerry was very involved in that group.

    Jerry was a joy to know and a great tease, and did so much for Flagler County. It was my pleasure to be his and Robin’s friend.

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