- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 18, 2005

Jerry D. Florence, former minor league baseball player and senior executive with AARP, died Nov. 28 of a heart attack at his home in Bethesda. He was 57.

Born in Wichita, Kan., Mr. Florence held a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Wichita State University. He also completed Penn State University’s Executive Management Program, as well as programs at MIT and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Mr. Florence started his career as a baseball player in the Chicago White Sox organization. In 1966, he signed with the Sarasota White Sox in Florida and later played for the Duluth-Superior Dukes in Minnesota.

After leaving baseball, Mr. Florence became a research chemist with General Electric in 1973. During his 25 years in key executive leadership positions, he started an Internet digital-database management company; marketed for an energy services company; was vice president of brand marketing and strategic development for Nissan; and was the general director for marketing and product planning for Cadillac while with General Motors.

Mr. Florence also was actively committed to social organizations and community service. He served as president of the Nissan Foundation, chairman of the Infinity Fund for Brain Tumor Research at UCLA, chairman of the Food for the Hood program at Crenshaw High School in South-Central Los Angeles, on the board of the Smithsonian Institute and as vice chairman of the Los Angeles Urban League.

In 1999, Mr. Florence was appointed by President Clinton and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve on the National Museum Services Board. He moved to the D.C. area two years ago to join AARP as its director for member value. He went on to serve as AARP’s group executive officer for membership and as director of the AARP Foundation, a charity arm of the AARP.

Survivors include his wife of 31 years, Winifred Florence of Bethesda; his parents, Alsie and Rosa Florence of Wichita; his son, Michael, of Bethesda; and 10 siblings.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the following organizations for which Mr. Florence served as a board member: the AARP Foundation, the Smithsonian Institute or the Thelonius Monk School of Jazz.

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