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: Tires squealed in smoky salute to Sheldon farmhand  ( 3469 )
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« : July 14, 2005, 08:47:55 AM »

The following information and scanned photos appeared in the Thursday Morning Edition of The Burlington Free Press who covered the funeral of Kenny Jerome at the Binghamville Cemetery:

Tires squealed in smoky salute to Sheldon farmhand
By Erica Jacobson
Free Press Staff Writer
BINGHAMVILLE Kenneth Jerome's purple 1996 Ford Mustang GT rounded the corner in ."front of the Binghamville United Methodist Church with a squeal of its tires and a roaring rev of its motor.

As the Binghamville Cemetery came into view, the car's driver, 36-year-old Norman Lockerby of Georgia, began to spin the Mustang's back tires. Lockerby laid down two thick tracks on the pavement. Blue-gray smoke spewed from the car's rear tire wheels and floated over the white picket fence in front of the cemetery.

The show of horsepower was an homage to Jerome, a true lover of the internal combustion engine, who was killed by a single gunshot on July 7.

Police    have    determined Jerome was shot as he drove a tractor at the Sheldon farm where he worked and lived, but no suspects in the homicide have been named and no arrests have been made.

During Jerome's funeral services Wednesday, friends and family tried to put aside the details of Jerome's death and focus on the man they had known and loved. Those who spoke at the service remembered the 33-year-old farmhand as a loyal friend, strong worker, loving partner, new father and devotee to all things mechanical, especially Ford Mustangs.

"Kenny loved anything that was loud, motorized and could 'lay a patch' or 'rip-tear,' " Jerome's longtime friend, Lauri Fisher, told the nearly 200 people who packed into the Minor Funeral Home in Milton Wednesday morning for a brief funeral service. "... I encourage each and every one of you to take a drive through Franklin County. A large portion of that rubber on the road is courtesy of Jerome and company."

Terry Magnan, in a statement read by a family friend, remembered how he spent time with his farmhand on the Fourth of July as Jerome swapped parts between old Ford Mustangs. Magnan recalled how carefree Jerome was and how now, with a family of his own, the farmhand finally seemed to know what he wanted from life.

"He wanted to be a lifetime employee and a friend," Bobbi Jo Jarvis of Fairfax read from Magnan's statement. "He wanted to buy his own home somewhere close to the farm, and he wanted to live in that home with Jen and their two little girls, be a great Dad, work on the farm, mow his lawn, play with his Mustangs and bother no one."

Five Ford Mustangs two of which belonged to Jerome led the procession to the cemetery. Jennifer Miller, Jerome's girlfriend and the mother of the couple's 7-month-old daughter, rode to the cemetery in the hearse that bore her partner's body.

At the funeral home, Jerome's open coffin had been decorated with toy Ford Mustangs, photos and bumper stickers made in his memory. At the cemetery, his closed coffin sat under a tent with roses arranged at the foot. Family and friends took turns placing flowers on the coffin. Miller stepped forward, kissed her hand and pressed it to the casket.

Not far from the tent sat Jerome's 1996 Ford Mustang, a recent purchase. Fisher said Jerome told her that he had bought that Mustang in hopes of one day seeing his daughter attend the prom in the car.
"He had plans," Fisher said.

Lockerby, who had sold Jerome the Mustang just days before the man's death, said he knew Jerome would appreciate the parade and peel-outs in his honor.

"He'd be doing the same thing if he was here," Lockerby said of his earlier rubber-rending display and Jerome's love of cars, trucks and snowmobiles. "If it had horsepower, he'd turn the tires."

Henry Raymond
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