Dr. Jerel “Jerry” Francis Eaton, 75

Dr. Jerel Francis Eaton known as “Jerry” passed peacefully on June 3, 2022.

Born in Illinois to Ortis A. and Mildred V. Eaton, he is preceded by his parents and brother David Hart.

He resided in Lakeland, Florida with his wife Linda C. Eaton, married for 55 years.

A member of the Chiropractic Association, he received his Doctor of Chiropractic Degree from National College of Chiropractic, Illinois. He owned and operated a private practice in Lakeland, FL for 45 years. His professional affiliations include the Florida Chiropractic Association from 1979, serving as Chairman of Research and development in 1980. He was a member of the Polk County Chiropractic Association from 1975, serving as Vice President then President for 2 terms 1977-1978 and 2001-2002. He cared about his patients and brought healing to many.

An Eagle Scout and a decorated war veteran; he proudly served in the Vietnam War in 1967-1969 as a Sergeant in the First Air Cavalry Division.
He was awarded the:
*Combat Infantryman’s Badge
*Air Medal for over 25 Helicopter combat assaults
* Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Bronze Star
*Army commendation metal with the “V” device for Heroism
*Bronze star for Meritorious Achievement in a Combat Zone
*Bronze star with the “V” device for Heroism in ground combat
* Presidential Unit Citation

During the Tet Offensive of 1968 the battalion in which he served was decimated. In 3 weeks a force of 400 men was reduced to 115 left standing. After Tet he was assigned to the same battalion’s recon unit and served 7 months in recon.

Because of the political unrest in our country and his unwelcome return to the States, he dedicated himself to always supporting the military and veterans regardless of when or where they served.

He joined Rotary in 1975 and served a term as President, received his Distinguished Service Citation for his service projects which include creating the Salute to Veterans Day Annual Breakfast event, Sponsored and joined the Flight to Honor to Washington DC; and the Lakeland Vietnam War commemoration. In recognition of his devotion to Rotary and its principles he was honored for perfect attendance in his first 24 years, he continued to participate in meetings and events until his retirement.

He could be spotted around town near the holidays ringing the bell for the Salvation Army in a Santa hat.

He is survived by his wife Linda, daughter Nicole S. Eaton and son Derek J. Eaton, grandson Luke, and brother James W. Eaton. He was known as a favorite Uncle to his nieces and nephews.

With twinkling blue eyes and an infectious grin, Jerel had an adventurous spirit. He loved to shoot, fish, golf, and spend time with his family. He was honored to be of service to his country and community and always had a joke ready to brighten your day.

He was loved by many and will be greatly missed. Condolences may be sent to the family at Heath Funeral Chapel.