April 29, 2011
Remembering Jerry Draper
~ written by James A. Readey
The evil demon that is cancer, with its uncanny feature, it seems, of striking down the very finest of people among us, struck again when on April 21, it took Jerry L. Draper from us and from his wonderful wife of 50 years, Barbara. The unfairness of the loss was emphasized by the fact that Jerry and Barb, who loved to travel together, had to curtail their travels (but not cease them altogether, thank goodness) for the last seven years of their retirement experience. Their triumph together is exemplified by the fact that this article is about Jerry Draper and the life he gifted to us all, and not about cancer, the disease that ended his life prematurely.
Jerry was quite simply one of the nicest people you could ever meet, and Barb was (and is) the perfect complement. Career-wise, Jerry was one of the most gifted trial lawyers in central Ohio's collection of extremely talented trial lawyers. Those who witnessed and remember will recall Jerry's professional, dignified, compassionate and very respectful defense of a major hospital's radiation department, the unfortunate site of the tragic over-radiation of a host of victims treated at the hospital. That defense reflected a total absence of arrogance and the appropriate touch of regret, kindness and sympathy at Jerry's expert hands befitting the human pain that all could feel as the testimony played out in the record.
Observers of Jerry's demeanor knew that his word was his bond and that he could be trusted completely. There was never a concern that he would ever pull a "cheap shot" during a trial to try to improve his chances of prevailing. He was the proverbial "straight shooter."
As co-counsel with Jerry, the undersigned had the distinct pleasure of watching Jerry skillfully build the client's case and weave the complex elements together as he cross-examined
the opponent's experts in a complicated, 3 Yz month accounting malpractice claim in a high-profile matter that lead to a multi-million dollar verdict for Jerry's client. I was amazed.
While Jerry had his serious side, his friends, however, will remember him not just for his easy-going manner, but also for something as zany as a spontaneous call for a "Tequila-Shot" party on a Friday afternoon at the office. Imagine his quick, self-deprecating wit when the bottom fell out of a large box of trial exhibits he was carrying across Mound Street one morning during the aforementioned mega-trial. Try to imagine our quiet, unassuming hero goad a friend and his wife (yours truly) into parasailing above a Mexican beach. Who could forget an hour as a passenger on a highway with Jerry driving well under the speed limit for every moment? You will be missed, always, Jerry.
A Memorial Service is being planned for Jerry for 4pm on Thursday, May 12, at Broad Street Presbyterian Church, 760 East Broad Street, Columbus.