June 21, 1943-Nov. 1, 2022
Jerry Donald Overton, 79, passed on 1 November, 2022, in Montrose, Colorado. Jerry was born on 21 June 1943 to George L. and Lucille Baldwin Overton in Memphis, Tennessee. He had two sisters, Barbara and Nell (deceased), and two brothers William and James (deceased).
Jerry grew up in Memphis Tennessee where he graduated from Oakhaven High School. He went on to the University of Tennessee where he received his bachelors and masters degrees in Agriculture. He then went on to receive a masters and doctorate degree in Counseling and Ethics from Southern Methodist University. He became a licensed marriage and family therapist, a clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and a graduate of the Coach University and the School of Coaching. He was also a Master Certified Coach of the International Coach Federation.
After completing his college education in Tennessee, he managed a purebred Hereford ranch and then became a salesman for John Deere, selling heavy farming equipment. After feeling a calling to get more involved in a religious life, he left the business world, and went on to become an ordained Methodist minister.
For the next twenty-two years he served churches in Dallas, Texas, and the surrounding area. He also served as Executive Director of The Southwest Career Development Center.
After retiring from the ministry, he moved to Colorado, “to be more immersed in God’s creation and enjoy the intimate community of a small town.” He first lived briefly in Silverton, then Ouray before moving to Montrose where he became an associate at the Montrose United Methodist Church focusing on contemplative worship and spiritual growth.
Following his passion for helping people develop their own spiritual leadings, he founded The Center for Personal and Spiritual Growth. He was able to acquire the church building at Park and South Sixth St. where he held services as well as evening discussions and worship. He became a student and teacher of A Course in Miracles which was gaining more popularity as a Christian spiritual path.
He also became close friends with Trappist Monk Father Thomas Keating at St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado. Keating had revived the Catholic tradition of Centering Prayer and Jerry often served retreats at the St. Benedict’s Retreat Center, enriching the lives of all who came.
In 2001 he wrote then published Divine Guidance—The Secret Way to an Abundant Life. The book explores, through myths as well as personal true life stories, how one can lead a fulfilling life in a complex world that can be very difficult and challenging.
He loved the outdoors of Colorado and enjoyed hiking and playing golf when he was not reading and writing poetry or making his annual pilgrimage to Fayetteville, Arkansas, which became his second home. He particularly enjoyed country-western and blues music. But whatever he was doing, he most enjoyed doing it with friends. His life of engaging people, whether in service to the community or recreating in the outdoors, led him to comment to a close friend, “Because of the depth and richness of my spiritual life, I have completely re-created my life so that I am truly living the life of my dreams.” Not only by teaching, but also by example he helped hundreds to move onto a more enriching life of their own.
Jerry is survived by his former wife Martha O’Brien of Nashville and their children Amy Overton Hunt of Alexandria, VA and Jason Overton of Nashville.
In lieu of flowers, Jerry asks for donations to be made to Hope West, Montrose.