Jerry Wesley

Passed away too soon, at the age of sixty five, on Mothers' Day, May 14th 2006.

Jerry's family (his dear mother Sheila, ninety six years old),  brothers Rob, Martin and Peter, together with relatives and many old friends from Footlights and the music world gathered to farewell Jerry on Saturday, May 20th at Centenniel Park.

His old mate Bob Lott officiated, another old mate Keith Conlon and two friends were playing soft jazz when we entered the Heysen Chapel. There were sad speeches and reminiscences from many people and images of Jerry projected onto a wall. Finally, a recording Jerry singing. Bob called  the event "Jerry's Last Gig". At "interval time" when we had said our last goodbyes, we processed to the Thebarton Theatre, for the "second half", that is, a bloody good wake.

As funerals go, it was as good as they get. And we loved that little bloke, perhaps saw too little of him over the years, perhaps took his enormous talent for granted. Now it's too late. It is hard. We will grieve for a long time.

In response to a general e-mail to the Old Footlighters many people sent in reminiscences of Jerry which we reprint here. We would welcome more.

Very sad indeed.

I remember Jerry as a small boy, about 8 years old I think, who used to follow me at violin lessons and would be waiting outside when I finished. So I may have known him longer than most of you.

 Jan Lokan (nee Goldsworthy).

Dear Jerry.

I had no idea he was so close to dying.  How sad and cruel.  Such a great guy.


Margi Butcher

Thanks for letting us know about Jeremy.  We'd be much obliged if you would pass on our regards to the rest of his family. And to consider us thinking of you all during the service and 'gathering' proceedings.

Long years we've not seen him, but many memories have been stirred particularly by the Footlights Reunion. Marvellous to have seen and heard him on videotape and the infamous CD.

John knew him through jazz circles mainly,  and I through university and Footlights.  In fact Jerry played bass in a quartet John organised for our wedding reception (1963) -- Roger Hudson on piano, Rod Porter clarinet, and  Peter Ubelhor on drums. {I'm sure Adey will correct whatever I've mistooken!}

The following morning we were having an early lunch at the Barbecue Inn in Hindley St before catching a plane to Melbourne, and ran into Jerry and a heap of mates, who announced to all and sundry in the restaurant that we had just been married, etc. Mayhem. Long stories.

Have had enormous pleasure from the Footlights CD and tape.  And I reckon Jerry's "Poor Little Alice" is a monty for MY wake-tape -- seems so totally indicative of the times and place we grew up in!

And over recent months I was delighted to hear on ABC Classic FM radio the Wesley Trio, recorded around the mid-60s -- marvellous songs like "The Owl and the Pussycat".  And more recently, compositions of Martin's, and I think Martin's and Peter's.

So Jerry has often been brought to mind.

Thanks again, if you can pass on our sentiments. If not, perhaps you could ask Tony Brooks or other.

 Sue Adey.

Jerry was a great bloke, a great muso and fun to be with. Happy memories of laid back times. I'd been knocking around the Adelaide Jazz Society (of Wayville Institute fame) quite a few years before, thankfully, he began turning up. His versatility, eclectic tastes and enthusiasm knocked me out.

It saddens me that we never ran across him on our infrequent trips back to Adelaide over last 40 plus years.

 Thanks again for letting us know.

John Adey

I happened to be in Adelaide to see my Mum when I heard the sad news on Sunday evening via Jack Lewis. I could not stay in Adelaide for the service and gathering of old friends this weekend, but did stop in to the family home to try to offer a little support to Jerry's Mum, and Peter and Robert, who had just flown in.

 Jerry and I did many, many gigs together-- in fact without any doubt the happiest times I ever had playing jazz were with him on bass. He remains my favourite bass player to work with. We had a special empathy when we created music together. 

Like all his Adelaide friends from those happy 1960s days, I will miss him. 

Kent Fuller

 Very sad. Thank you for telling me.


Wendy McPhee

Thanks for the sad news about Jerry.

I remember him well, and he must be perhaps a year younger than I am (intimations of mortality and all ). I'll try to be there on Saturday. 

Michael Best

Sad news indeed.  Thanks for letting us know. 

Janny and Roger Taylor

Jerryís demise is a sad business, but for him probably a blessed release.  I will be in Adelaide next week, unfortunately not early enough to attend the Gathering. 

Geoff Ward

That is sad news indeed. May I ask you this. I thought his name (testing my memory now) was Jeremy Wesley Smith. I met him again at the first reunion and he told me that I had taught him so good Jazz piano chords in those early days of glittering prizes!

 Thanks for the info

 Noel Fidge

Thanks for passing on news. 

If you are collecting a list of names for condolences please put mine on there - as I didnít know Jerry well and donít know his family, I wouldnít contact them directly.

Anne Sved Williams

Thank you for passing on the sad news.

Jerry was a special, talented person.


Lou Crotti

Thanks for the sad news on Jerry.

Daryl Warren

ĎTis sad news!

Ted Sandercock

Dear all,

 Believe it or not, the news had  already reached me in London . I feel immensely sad that an era has come to an end.

For me Jerry represented  the beating heart of the 60's , and  I shall miss him .  Please keep me informed via E-the mailing list .

 With love

 Sue Lawrence (in London)

I fell asleep thinking about Jerry last night .......... with a sadness that I'd missed all these years  of hearing him play, but gladness that I'd squeezed in the fleeting hours at your bbq the day before I left. And now here is your message. I didn't want to open it, fearing what it would say. What a presence. He'll always be with us.


 Suddenly the sun rose  ...
the scent of plum blossoms
along the mountain path.
                                  Matsuo Basho

 Judy Nancarrow

Jeremy achieved a great deal of what he sought, I hope.  Most of all he gathered a huge number of friends who adored and respected him and who will rmember and mourn him for years to come.  He was so frail yet put on a cheerful face at the Reunion.  We all feel just grief and sadness at his long expected death: and relief that the pain has now stopped. When parents die, thatís the generation before; when schoolmates and friends die, thatís our generation and then itís our turn.  I share the grieving for Jeremy.

 Mari Lindsaar

Many thanks for passing this sad news on to me.  I am only glad that I managed to catch up with him, for the last time and due to your good offices.  Many thanks for that. Please pass my condolences on to his family when you see them.


Sad news indeed.  It was good that he was able to be involved in our comeback.

Andy Ligertwood