ROCK HILL, S.C. — Late on the night of Dec. 1 last year, Jerry Howard shared a long conversation with his father, Jerry Howard Sr. Among other topics, father and son talked about the younger Howard’s commitment to Georgia Tech, which he had made a week and a half earlier, the achievement of a dream to play major college football.
“He was just telling me how proud he was of me for committing and sticking with it and not giving up,” Howard said.
Less than 24 hours later, Jerry Howard Sr. was gone, the victim of a shooting in broad daylight outside the family’s home in Rock Hill. The father, who liked to take his son fishing for catfish in nearby Brattonsville and helped mold his son’s goal for a better life, was dead.
“He was always with me and supported me,” Howard said. “He took care of me when I was feeling sick. If I needed anything, I knew he’d be right there for it.”
Howard will graduate from Northwestern High in Rock Hill on June 3. A candidate to play B-back for coach Paul Johnson and the Yellow Jackets, Howard will enroll at Tech having known deep loss, but he has approached it with determination and perspective.