As president of the class of 1990, Jerry was in frequent contact with classmates and friends from his high school days. He was often notified of these friends’ deaths and sometimes asked to speak at their funerals.
Here is the list Jerry Price assembled of 22 friends who died in a span of 14 ½ months. (See accompanying story headlined 14½ Months, 22 Deaths) For causes of deaths he wasn’t sure about, Price reached out to family members. Some causes he could not confirm. But he said in those unconfirmed cases he was sure that diseases, not homicide, claimed the friends. Price said 16 of these friends died of preventable, treatable chronic diseases.
One good friend was a suicide victim, which Price argues could be in the chronic disease category because he said this friend had suffered for years with undiagnosed depression and mental illness. This friend’s death is categorized in the list as both a result of disease and violence.
Twenty of the 22 friends spent all or part of their growing-up years in Benton Harbor. Many of these 20 were still living in Benton Harbor at the time of their deaths, while others were living elsewhere.
Below are fictitious first names to preserve the families’ privacy. But the list contains what Price said are the actual ages, dates of death and causes of death, where it was possible for him to confirm.
22 Deaths from September 2017 to December 2018
D=Disease=17 V=Violence=4 A=Accident=2
NOTE: This list shows the suicide in both the disease and violence categories.
- James (47) Sept. 26, 2017. Car accident. (A)
- Maurice (47) Oct. 19, 2017. Complications from disability (paralyzed from a gunshot wound years ago). (V)
- Monica (46) Oct. 22, 2017. Domestic violence. (V)
- Darius (46) Nov. 12, 2017. Cause unconfirmed. (D)
- Darnell (46) Nov. 22, 2017. Heart attack caused by congestive heart disease. (D)
- Brian (50) Dec. 9, 2017. Complications from cancer/stroke. (D)
- Michael (46) Suicide. Date unconfirmed, but Price recalls learning of the death in January 2018. (D/V)
- Eric (47) Jan. 22, 2018. Heart attack. (D)
- Andre (45) March 3, 2018. Struck by car and killed. (A)
- Jeremy (45) March 11, 2018. Blood disease (no other cause given). (D)
- Gary (47) March 16, 2018. Heart attack. (D)
- Stephen (44) April 11, 2018. Type 2 diabetes/stroke. (D)
- Anthony (47) May 23, 2018. Heart attack. (D)
- Gregory (49) June 1, 2018. Cancer. (D)
- Kenneth (56) June 11, 2018. Cause unconfirmed. (D)
- Charles (55) July 4, 2018. Cause unconfirmed. (D)
- Thomas (51) Aug. 9, 2018. Cause unconfirmed. (D)
- DeAndre (45) Sept. 1, 2018. Killed in apparent domestic violence case. (V)
- Troy (34) Sept. 21, 2018. Diabetes. (D)
- Keith (49) Sept. 24, 2018. Diabetes. (D)
- Donald (51) Sept. 26, 2018. Diabetes. (D)
- George (49) Dec. 12, 2018. Cause unconfirmed. (D)