EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (WCCO) — Students, parents and alumni of Eden Prairie High School grieved the loss of a beloved security guard Saturday.

Jerry Pittman, known as Pitter and Jer Bear, died suddenly Friday at the age of 58, and students, past and present, wrote messages everywhere from Facebook to the school’s sidewalks to remember the man who touched so many lives.

Pittman worked as a security guard at the school for nine years, and students say that he was the kind of person who knew everyone’s name and asked, sincerely, how they were doing.

“He was the inspiration to come to school,” one student said.

Far from being just a security guard, Pittman, students say, had a smile that was contagious and a personality that fostered a family atmosphere in the school’s halls.

“He was like a dad to a lot of people,” one student said.

After hearing of Pittman’s death, many students, with Sharpies in hand, took to writing letters to Pittman’s family. Other students wrote on the school sidewalk with chalk and others posted messages on Facebook.

The school’s principal says the counseling office at the high school will be open to students and family on Monday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.

Comments (11)
  1. Andrew Constans says:

    All day there was a clear spot of sky right above the north entrance to the school. Some of Mike’s (the guy in the story talking about jerry) friends called and not 2 miles away it was pouring rain. When the family came by to light his name in candles, there were storms all around us but the sky directly above us was completely clear. there was a short period of rain, very light, as the family lit the candles. The rain stopped immediately after and the clear sky resumed. At the end of the night there was an amazing light show with all of the lightning. Ive been with MetroSkywarn (a National Weather Service program) for about 6-7 years and NEVER in my life seen the weather do that.

  2. Amazing says:

    Sounds like one hell of a loss. Very sad to read stories like this. I know part of life but, while I wouldn’t wish death upon anyone, why can’t the thugs go down? RIP Jerry and god bless your family.

    Andrew—your post is simply AMAZING! Thank you for sharing.

  3. liz says:

    this is news because it happened in our community, and has had a big impact on a lot of people. Jerry was in a lot of our lives, and was loved by many. By the number of people that have been affected by this i would like to ask why you think this is not news? Jerry was a great man, and deserves to be recognized for everything he has done for our community.

    1. Sandy says:

      Thank-you all so very much, Jerry is my uncle…there are many things I want to say, but just…staring at the screen. You warm my heart…xo

  4. Natalie Hamilton says:

    Because Jerry was one of the most importain people to us students at Eden prairie high school. He effected every single one of our lives and losing him makes the world a darker place. Every student and staff member loved him I never heard a bad word said about him. He was part of our family. And now he is gone forever out of nowhere. He was a great man and will be dearly missed by thosands of people in our community. That’s why this is news.

  5. Deb says:

    In a world filled with news of war, bad economy, atrocities committed against children and innocents it lifts our hearts to read about one person who had such a positive effect on so many people. This is why it is news. We need to be reminded that an every day person has the ability to make a positive change in people’s lives.

    Jerry did just that. I have known Jerry for over 40 years and even I did not know how the students at Eden Prairie High School felt about Jerry and how he played a part in their life at school.

    Reading their postings on the facebook page they created and the article above made me stop and think. How many of us take the time to listen? Jerry obviously did. From so many of the students you read about going to find Jerry in order to talk to him.

    So even though Jerry was just one man, he touched many lives by listening, never judging and always showing kindness along with that beautiful smile of his. That is news that you don’t read about every day. I can only hope that many of us go on to follow his example. We could use quite a few more people like Jerry in our world.

  6. Lauren Brumback says:

    Jerry was amazing and always cared about every single student he met. He was the happiest person at the high school and it will never be the same without him. He was the greatest presence throughout my whole four years and his memory will never leave my heart. I love you Jerry so much and my prayers go out to your family. The students of Eden Prairie not only from the past but also from the future will remember you forever. I hope that you will look over me through my future journeys and will always give me that morning “Laurennnn! How are you?”

    Jerry I miss you so much and you will remain in my heart forever.

    Love always,

  7. Sharon says:

    It is so amazing to see all of the people that my brother in law touched–thank you to all of you for your thoughts and prayers

  8. Chad says:

    I graduated in ’05, and I feel so blessed that I was even mentioned by this news piece about Jerry. And if you asked me to name the first EPHS staff member that will come to my mind, I would have instantly said Jerry Pittman. I remember meeting Jerry for the first time, during both our first years at EPHS. I often did volunteering for school projects at EPHS over my breaks from SCSU. Jerry was always the first person I would look for to say hello. I remember last year when I would be down in the weight room with him, and we would talk about such a wide variety of topics. He would give me advice on how to look at problems, and always tell me that hard work will pay off. I will always remember who you are Jerry, and I will work extremely hard to try to influence as many students as you did when I teach.

    Like I wrote on the wall at EPHS: I will see you when you make me sign into those pearly gates up in the sky. However, I also expect that you let me sneak out too. Just like the mischievous days of high school.

    Again, thank you so much Jerry. You have changed me as a person, and I miss you very much.
    Much love,
    – Chad

  9. Rachael says:

    Jerry was awesome. I’m so sad that he’s gone. The sentence in the article about how he sincerely asked people how they were doing is so true. Jerry actually cared about all of us. He knew everyone’s name and was a man who touched the lives of countless students. No one will be able to replace him. He made my days at EPHS a little more bearable. RIP, Jerry, you will be missed.

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