Jerry Cantrell 1942 - 2022


Jerry Cantrell passed away on Sunday, January 9, 2022, at his home in Melbourne, Florida. Jerry was born on November 10, 1942, in Greenfield, Tennessee to Motan Albert and Emma Louise (Farmer) Cantrell. He attended elementary school in Greenfield, middle school in Lansing, Michigan, and then returned to Greenfield for high school, graduating in 1960. He moved to Nashville to attend architectural drafting school while working in a grocery store to support himself. That year of enlightenment convinced him to return home to attend college at University of Tennessee/Martin for two years before transferring to Knoxville where he graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering in March 1966.

He spent nine years working in the aircraft industry beginning at Lockheed Martin in Marietta, Georgia, immediately after graduation. He credits the guidance and nurturing of the senior level engineers he worked with at Lockheed for playing a critical role in his success as an engineer. When the C5A design and development contract began slowing down in 1970 he was hired by McDonnell Douglas Aircraft in St.Louis, Missouri. He became a part of the structural analysis team of the F15 fighter aircraft, Harpoon missile, and Space Shuttle components.

In July 1975, he joined Harris Corporation GCSD, where he remained until he retired on March 28, 2005. He worked on many programs and held increasing levels of responsibility through the almost 30 years with the company. One of the things he enjoyed most was mentoring and coaching young engineers and watching them grow in experience and increasing levels of responsibility.

He is survived by his wife, Kaye Elaine Holding, who he met in St. Louis. They were married in Melbourne, Florida, on October 9, 1976.

One of his greatest privileges was being a Space Coast Honor Flight Guardian on two occasions escorting a World War II veteran to Washington, DC to see their Memorials.

He loved traveling, fine food and wine. When football season began you could hear him loudly cheering for the Tennessee Vols!

There will be no services at this time.

For those who want to make a contribution in his name please consider Club Esteem, 3316 Monroe St., Melbourne, FL 32901 or

Paid Obituary: Brownlie-Maxwell Funeral Home