Jerry Drew Bayton was a father, brother, and son. His friends described him as fun, positive, courageous, and persevering. He never gave up, even when faced with his toughest challenge—fighting multiple myeloma cancer. From 2012 to 2019, Jerry took on the challenge and fought head on. He was admired, loved, and cherished by his two sons, family, many friends, and community.
He grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, with his father, mother, sister, and brother. Through childhood he dedicated himself to sports and friends. He was a gifted musician at heart and worked hard mowing lawns to purchase his first drum set at age 12. He graduated from high school in 1983 and went on to walk on the Mizzou football team and play baseball at Indiana State University.
Throughout high school and college, Jerry continued perfecting his drumming technique and was asked to play for local Kansas City bands. In the late 1990s he joined Deege, a band from LA, where he participated in a song featured on the television show “Party of Five.” Jerry’s music career stayed with him until the end. In 2016, he formed the local Kansas City band Superstar Mafia. This band went on to headline one of Kansas City’s biggest philanthropies—Jazzoo—where Jerry Drew played the drums for the final time in July 2019.
Jerry became a firefighter in 1991 and was promoted to captain in 2008. The memories he made in his 25 years as a fireman were many. He would constantly tell stories of the tragedies and triumphs he and his firefighters experienced. He made the job sound fun and hilarious; all the while, those around him knew that he put his life on the line many times. He loved his fellow firefighters and always spoke very highly of them.
Although Jerry was an incredible musician and firefighter, his pride and joy was in being a father. In 1999, his first son, Taylor, was born and in 2002, he welcomed his second son, Brendan. Since the moment his boys came into the world, Jerry knew they were his number one priority and his reason for living. He taught them how to enjoy life, have fun, play sports, and even coached their Little League football teams to National Championships. He was never prouder of anything or anyone in his life, and his sons’ lives were the center of it all.
Everyone was drawn to Jerry’s smile, charm, energy, and sense of humor. Jerry lived life to the fullest, and his spirit will live on through his sons, his family, and the brave men and women in the Kansas City Fire Department. Jerry Drew Bayton was one of a kind.