Jerry L. Spinks spent most of his life giving. He gave 25 years to his country, 15 years to people who were grieving and, after his death, gave the precious gift of sight. Spinks, a retired Navy veteran of 25 years and beloved member of his community, was just 63 when he died of a massive heart attack. Jerry found a second career at West Funeral Home, where his comforting manner helped people cope with their loss and co-workers knew they could always count on him. With a family member seeing due to a cornea transplant, Jerry's family knew firsthand the importance of donation.
Jerry L. Spinks, a beloved member of his community, was just 63 when he died of a massive heart attack. After serving on active duty in the Navy for 25 years, Jerry found a second career at West Funeral Home, where he became a valued employee admired by everyone for his caring, thoughtful ways during his 15 years there.
Jerry's death on June 3, 2013 was sudden and unexpected. The day started out as usual: morning at his golf course, then a ride around the neighborhood in his golf cart picking up trash, as was his habit. Sometimes he would use the cart to pull kids on their bikes and skateboards. Later that day he went to his Masonic meeting. That evening, he had a dizzy spell, but he and his wife couldn't even get to the car in time. Within minutes he was crumpled in the driveway after suffering a massive heart attack.
His wife worked to keep her companion of 45 years alive by performing CPR until the paramedics arrived. He was pronounced dead in the emergency room at Carlsbad Medical Center in Carlsbad, New Mexico. One of the family's biggest comforts was the knowledge that he didn't suffer because his passing was so quick. He led a healthy life with no indications of heart disease, and didn't smoke or drink.
Even though the family was in a shocked and heartbroken state, when the doctor asked about donation, the answer was yes. Jerry's mother-in-law had received a cornea transplant, and everyone recognized how this precious gift extended her vision and quality of life.
"My Father wanted to help people and it is very fitting that even in the end, he was still able to help," said his daughter CJ. That he was a part of our life was a gift to us, but his corneas are now a gift of vision to another family. That is a blessing to us all."