Jerry Thornbery

Profile Updated: September 19, 2011
Jerry Thornbery
Residing In: Baltimore, MD USA
Spouse/Partner? Tell us how long: Carrie, for over four decades
Occupation: High School History Teacher, Gilman School
Children/Grandchildren? If so, birth year and location: Meredith, Baltimore
Reece, Chicago
Yes! Attending Reunion


What did you do right after high school?

1962-66 BA Ripon College
1966-67 MAT Emory University
1967-70 High School Teacher, East Atlanta High School
1970-77 Ph.D. University of Maryland, U.S. History
1979- High School Teacher, Gilman School

Have you had different careers?

Professional Student, 1970s
Awarded the Carrie Thornbery Scholarship throughout that decade

Fun or interesting "adventures" or one of the high points of your life.

One High Point: Doing a presentation with Julian Bond back in the 1990s when he welcomed the audience to the Julian and Jerry Show. I no longer tell that story to young teachers at Gilman for some of them have no clue as to who he is.

What do you do with your spare time? What are you passionate about?

Interests: Film, Recent American History, American Politics, and the Music of the 1950s and Early 1960s

Passions: Movie Theaters and Book Stores and Carrie Thornbery

I used to be passionate about dachshunds but Bodie (our fourth standard) has been a challenge.

Have you lived one of your dreams?

Yes. Running a ninth grade study hall for over thirty years.

Publications or recordings? Ex: books, articles, films, music.

Three articles--two from my dissertation about Black Atlanta after the Civil War and one about teaching history by using the Booker T. Washington Papers.


Assuming good health, I plan to teach for a few more years at Gilman School. My email address should continue to be

Jerry's Latest Interactions

Jerry Thornbery has left an In Memory comment for Profile.
Aug 13, 2017 at 12:33 PM

The thoughtful eulogy by Dave Stearns (and the full obituary I assume that he provided) made me think of incidents that occurred over fifty years ago.  Unlike others who have contributed to this page, I was not a close classmate of Bob's, at best a friendly acquaintance, but even for someone like me, Bob Race left fond memories.  Three stand out.

I first met Bob in Jack Nagle's ninth-grade English class.  Sometime that winter Bob began to wear boots that somehow flew under the radar screen of the WFB dress-code enforcers.  "Where did you get those boots, Bob?" I asked.  "From Roy Rogers?"  Although I called him Roy Rogers Race for about a month, Bob never got angry.  In fact, somewhere in my very small collection of WFB mementoes is a post card that reads: "To Jerry. Best Wishes, Roy Rogers Race." Bob was a classmate who was exceptionally good natured and who never took himself too seriously.

A second memory is of one Friday night in my junior year (I think) when Bob rang our door bell.  My Dad answered.  There was Bob with a cigarette, waving it as if it were a firery sixth appendage to his hand.  "Oh, oh," I thought, "this is trouble."  But Bob had plenty of charm, and he charmed my Dad just as he did a lot of people he met.  As we were almost out the door my Dad called out, "Nice talking with you, Bob."

Dave Stearns writes about Bob and his interest in folk music.  I am sorry that I missed their performance at the senior talent show.  The few discussions I had with Bob about music, however, centered on country and bluegrass.  In his senior year he sometimes sat out in the family car, listening to some clear channel station out of Cincinnati or Wheeling, West Virginia.  Bob did mention to me that sometimes it got a little chilly, and sometimes he had to wrap himself up in a blanket, but he could only get that station and that kind of music in the driveway of his home.  Definitely Bob was into country before country became cool.

After high school, most of what I knew about Bob Race came from another '62 friend, Bob Wolf, who like Race, joined the Air Force and served as a fireman.  The two Bobs were into hunting and fishing and I would occasionally hear about their treks into the wilderness.  It was through Bob Wolf and I learned of Bob's fatal illness.

When we think back about our high school days we (or at least I do) sometimes romanticize the past and sometimes get lost in the fog of memory.  Nevertheless, one thing is crystal clear.  Bob Race was one of the good guys.  Kris Krabbe succinctly stated that on this site.  And in my book, that is high praise indeed.

                                                                                Jerry Thornbery, August 12, 2017