Former Cub All City Football Player Remembers His Roots
As a proud graduate of The High, Jerry Barlow'55 recalls a tough choice that changed his life. He attended Cooke Elementary in Detroit, but instead of following most of his classmates to either Redford or St Mary's of Redford High School, Jerry decided to attend U of D High. In the early ‘50s, this was a big decision for an eighth grader who loved to play football. St. Mary's was a perennial power-house in the Catholic League and U of D High was a strong team in the Detroit Public School League. Yes, that is correct, in those days, the Cubs played in the City League. The decision to become a Cub worked out well for Jerry. In the November 1954, U of D High beat the St. Mary's Rustics 23 to 20 to claim the city championship before 33,000 fans at Briggs Stadium. Jerry played left-end on both offense and defense. He proudly remembers making the final two tackles of the game. The team's final record was 8 wins 0 losses and 1 tie. They outscored their opponents 274 to 45.
Jerry moved on to the University of Michigan and then transferred to Catholic University in Washington D.C. He graduated with a degree in aeronautical engineering. After serving as an officer in the Air Force for 3 years, Jerry worked as a civilian aeronautical engineer for the Navy. Jerry, his wife, Barbara, and their three sons, Andrew, Christopher and Kenneth all live in the D.C. area. In February of 2011, Jerry and Barbara celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They are also the proud grandparents of Natasha and Elizabeth.
Athletics were important to Jerry, but he credits The High for preparing him to succeed academically and for providing the spiritual foundation for his life. Jerry told me "We all have a mission in life and U of D Jesuit helped me develop the courage to hear God and to do what He asked."
Jerry was the first U of D Jesuit benefactor to take advantage of a special IRS rule that allows a person who is at least 70-1/2 years old to transfer up to $100,000 directly from their IRA to the school free of any federal tax hit. According to Jerry, "I could pay the appropriate income tax on my IRA withdrawal and then donate the remainder to The High or I could give the school the entire amount. I chose to have the school reap the benefit of the entire amount." Jerry requested that his gift be used to increase the school's endowment. Thanks to the generosity of Jerry and many others, the endowment currently generates over $650,000 annually to help fund operations.