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Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Starts at 1:00 pm (Central time)
Ricky (Rick) Lenn Jernigan, 70, died at home in Tyler, Texas on March 22, 2023. He was born on July 30, 1952, in Amarillo, Texas to the late Henry and Juanita Jernigan of Abilene, Texas.
At the age of 19 Rick joined the Air Force. For his service, Rick was awarded the Silver Star, the third highest military decoration for valor in combat. He was also awarded the Purple Heart which is awarded by the President of the United States to those wounded or killed while serving with the U.S. military.
In 1977, Rick began college at Cisco Junior College in Abilene, Texas. After moving to Austin, he continued his higher education at various universities and graduated with a degree in Computer Engineering. After graduating, the military recruited Rick to come back to work for them. He worked as a civilian for the Department of Defense, first at Fort Hood, Texas and then in Washington D.C. at the Pentagon.
Rick worked on many projects that benefited all branches of the military. Rick held many patents as a result of his work, some as an individual and some in collaboration with others. He traveled all over the United States and to other countries in his work for the government. On September 11, 2001 he was walking down a hallway of the Pentagon with a General. They had papers headed to the President’s desk. The impact of the plane crashing into the building knocked both individuals to the ground and scattered the papers everywhere.
Due to health problems Rick had to retire early from government service and soon moved back to Texas. However, his scientific mind kept him busy working on projects around his home. He usually had several projects going at any given time. Rick was just as comfortable reading a technical textbook as any fictional novel. Rick loved using his outdoor grill or smoker to make delicious meat for family members.
Rick led a full and fascinating life, from humble beginnings to trials and tribulation serving his country to doing vital work for the government. He will be sorely missed by his family.
Rick is survived by a daughter, Amber Canales and husband Enrique of Manor, Texas. Also, two stepdaughters, Stephanie Greer and husband, David of North East, Maryland and Rachael Coyner and husband Tony of Aberdeen, Maryland; two sisters, Brenda Nursick and her husband Tom of San Antonio, Texas and Belinda Lowrance and her husband Ross of Jacksonville, Texas; three brothers, Ken Jernigan and wife Debbie of Quitman, Texas, Sam Jernigan of Forney, Texas and Larry Jernigan of Austin, Texas.
Rick enjoyed his time spent with family which includes the children of his stepdaughters: Paige and Myah Greer; Tyler and Lily Coyner. Also, many nieces and nephews: Dawn Nursick-Rubio and Benjamin Nursick; Trey, Tara and Tamra Jernigan; Sam and Becky Jernigan and Kristi Ball; Ross Jr, Zech and Will Lowrance and Tomi Krugler; Anna Jernigan; He also spent time with some of his great nieces and nephews: Mac Nursick and Jade Rubio and Hayden and Owen Nursick; Sebastien and Darcey Jernigan and Aeriella and Everlynn Yeater; Alyssa and Logan Ball and Harper Delaney; Ross III and Ryan Lowrance; Morgan Lowrance; Lindsey and Grace Lowrance; Cheyenne, Thomas Jr and Trenton Krugler. He had planned to get Thomas Junior to help him work on a four-wheeler this coming summer. Thomas remembered this and cried when he heard the news of Rick’s passing.
Rick was preceded in death by his youngest brother and sibling, Ronnie Jernigan.
A graveside service will be held Wednesday, March 29, 2023 at Quitman City Cemetery, 406 Sissy Spacek Dr., Quitman, Texas at 1:00 pm. Service will be under the direction of Lowe-Gardner Funeral Home.