It is with much sadness and grief that I share with you that former ISRI Chair Jerry Simms passed away last Friday morning. As many of you know, Jerry had been suffering from Parkinson's disease, and unfortunately his health deteriorated significantly over the last month. According to Terry, his wife, Jerry is in a better place now, out of pain, but missed by so many.
Jerry was a great friend and colleague to many of us, chairing ISRI from 2012 to 2014. It was during his tenure as Chair that ISRI reinvigorated our state program, expanded ISRI's resources to fight metals theft, successfully prevented EPA from going down the path of regulating scrap as hazardous waste, and obtained EPA's authorization to recycle plastics from shredder fluff.
Jerry received ISRI's Lifetime Achievement award last year for his decades of dedication and leadership within the industry. It was Jerry who inspired and led ISRI's efforts to reform Superfund that resulted in passage of the Superfund Recycling Equity Act (SREA) in 1999. His letter to the ISRI leadership in the early 90s, calling for the rallying of ISRI members at the grassroots level and the leveraging of their political power to effect change that spurred ISRI's efforts on this critical issue. And along with the leadership of Mark Reiter, who we also tragically lost this past week, Jerry helped mobilize the industry and build the political structure that remains today at ISRI. According to Jerry, "when working in concert, ISRI and our members can achieve any successes we need in the battles that confront us, be they legislative, regulatory, or public perception."
I can't think of any stronger advocate for ISRI and the recycling industry than Jerry. He showed us the power one person can have, bringing together an entire industry to fight for a cause. His dedication to ISRI and recycling was endless. Most importantly, Jerry was an incredibly special person who I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to work so closely with and become friends with. He will be missed by so many within and outside ISRI and the recycling industry.
A tribute page has been set up on ISRI's website for members to leave messages and memories.
In lieu of flowers, people can honor and remember Jerry through donations to either the Michael J Fox Foundation or the Colorado-based Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson's.