4/18/1942 - 4/7/2014
Gerald (Jerry) Sharkey is often called “The Father of the National Park in Dayton”. At an economic development conference in the 1980’s, he suggested that Dayton support a National Park honoring the Wright brothers. He contacted the Wright family, the National Park Service, community aviation historians, and community leaders, to push for legislation, and also for finding an investor for one of the Wrights’ early bicycle shops to save it from demolition. After legislation was enacted to create the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park in Dayton, Sharkey became the first president for the Dayton Aviation Heritage Commission. An unlikely aviation enthusiast who was afraid of flying, Sharkey was in the thick of planning with Aviation Trail, Inc., the first organization founded in Dayton to recognize Dayton’s role in aviation, and the 2003 Committee to celebrate the Centennial of Powered Flight. In addition to his careers with the City of Dayton and Montgomery County, he was a teacher at Carroll High School and was named Teacher of the Year for his outstanding work.