Cover photo for Jerry P. Mcilwain's Obituary
Jerry P. Mcilwain Profile Photo
1941 Jerry 2022

Jerry P. Mcilwain

April 16, 1941 — September 7, 2022

Jerry P. McIlwain, of Calhoun, Tennessee, age 81, died on September 7, 2022, at home in Calhoun. He

was born April 16, 1941, in Shreveport, LA., attended and graduated from Baton Rouge High School and

went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree and Master of Science in wildlife ecology from LSU. 

His interest and passion for the outdoors, wildlife, and his love of people led him to a successful and prominent career in

the US Forest Service. His earlier assignments in the field included work on the Shawnee National Forest

in Illinois, the Cherokee National Forest in TN, National Forest in Florida, the Ouachita National Forest in

Oklahoma. He continued his forestry and wildlife conservation career for over 30 years with assignments

in the Forest Service’s National Office and regional offices for both California and Hawaii, and the

southeastern US and Puerto Rico along with his final assignment in the Pacific Northwest Research

Station in Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. Jerry was extremely effective in the wildlife and natural

resources field throughout his career, leading the way in finding common ground many times between

diverse interests and through multiple controversies. He was well known for creating innovative

solutions and developed strong partnerships with other organizations and agencies. Most importantly to

him, he guided many biologists in their careers. He mentored and led a diverse cadre in the Forest

Service, who remained good friends with him throughout his life. He retired from federal service in 1998

and eventually moved back Tennessee with his wife, Mari, to build their dream home on the Hiwassee

River. He was incredibly engaged with a diverse group of old and new friends and devoted to his family.

Jerry and Mari, his true life partner of 37 years, opened their hearts and home countless occasions,

sharing their hospitality, boundless generosity, and sense of fun with so many people.

His parents, George L and Pauline S McIlwain, and brother, Joe (Joel K) McIlwain,precede him in death.

He is survived and loved by wife, Mari Elliott Wall McIlwain; his daughters:Cindy M McIlwain Nelson

(Kenneth Nelson), April L McIlwain (James Markel) and Jennifer L Giddens (Duane Giddens); his

grandchildren: Samantha L Glass, Rachel J Glass, Erin M Giddens, Genaro T Camas McIlwain, Jackson D

Giddens, and Carter J Giddens; sister-in-law, Dian McIlwain; and cousins, Lurline Ard and Shirley Ducek.

A celebration of life will be held October 15 from 3-5 pm at the Elk’s Lodge, 235 Second Street NE, Cleveland, TN 37311.

Donations can be sent in lieu of flowers to the American Chestnut Foundation or the Boys and Girls Club, Ocoee Region.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Jerry P. Mcilwain, please visit our flower store.


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