Dr. William Jerald "Jerry" Vail

July 9, 1936 ~ July 2, 2021 (age 84) 84 Years Old


Dr. William Jerald “Jerry” Vail, 84, passed away on Friday, July 2nd, 2021, at his home in Knoxville, TN. Jerry was predeceased by his parents William Francis and Shirley Eileen Nally Vail. In 1958, Jerry married Shirley Lease Workman who predeceased him in 2005 and is survived by his four children, Kathryn Emily Vail of Penticton, British Columbia, Canada, William Benjamin Vail, Cumberland, Maryland, Elizabeth Rachel Vail and her wife Kym Love of Knoxville, TN and George Ulrich Vail and his wife Lisa Grant Vail, and grandfather of Haven and Jordan Vail of Roswell, GA. 

Jerry was born July 9, 1936 in Wheeling, WV and attended Edgington Lane, Woodsdale, and Triadelphia schools. His university education included attending West Liberty State College in 1956 and graduated with an AB from West Virginia University with a major in Botany and Chemistry in 1960. Jerry continued his advanced studies to include an MS and PhD in microbiology and biochemistry from WVU, studying under Dr. Virgil Greene Lilly in 1965.

Jerry began his teaching career as an Associate Professor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania from 1964 to 1967 when he received a NIH post-doctorate fellowship at the Institute from Enzyme Research, University of Wisconsin studying under Dr. David E. Green from 1967 to 1970. He was appointed assistant professor of microbiology in 1970 at the University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada until 1976 and then in 1977 joined the Department of Biology as a professor at Frostburg State College, ultimately serving as Department Head for several years. Known by his many graduate students and professionally in the field, Dr. Vail was the author or co-author of over 74 scientific papers, three invited book chapters and 4 US patents. Among his many distinctions he was a recognized authority on the ultrastructure of the mitochondria. Jerry retired in 1999 as emeritus professor of Biology and was a proud adviser to many master’s and PhD candidates over his tenure. 

Throughout his life Jerry loved the outdoors, was an avid fly fisherman always on the search for the next trout stream, and he especially adored his English Setter dogs. While living in Western Maryland, he was a Mason and member of Mountain Lodge 99, Frostburg, MD.

Episcopalian by faith, Jerry served as vestryman in several churches and most recently was a member of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Fountain City, Knoxville TN. At Jerry’s request there will be no services held.

Baldwin Cremation & Mortuary Service is honored to be serving the family of Dr. William Jerald Vail.

Baldwin Cremation & Mortuary Service * 914 N Cherry Street * Knoxville, TN  37917 * (865) 633-5200 *

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