CANTON, OH (WOIO) - The community came together to bring home the body of a teacher who died in South Korea.
Jerry Lipkins was teaching English in South Korea when he suddenly got sick and passed away.
"He was a good guy, that's why I think a lot of us are hurting so hard," said Randall Sistrunk, a friend.
Breathing complications took his life on January 19, 2016. The 33 year old was born May 16, 1982.
Lipkins' aunts say it didn't take long to notice Jerry had a gift, making friends.
"He made everyone feel as though they were a good friend…. he was everyone's best-friend" said Lisa Lipkins, aunt.
That's why at his funeral--- so many friends and best-friends packed into a standing room only church. It was a huge crowd that spilled
out onto the street..
"It's a testimony to the life that he led," said Jacquelin Ridley, Jerry's aunt.
Many who passed by the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church on Market looked over at the large crowd, some asked was this a celebrity funeral.
"He is a celebrity, Mr. International Jones, if you didn't know, now you do. Jerry was always special to us," said Shawn Brown, Jerry's
"From elementary school, to middle school, to high school, we were side by side. We just connected, we became best friends," said his
friend, Dwayne Broyles.
Jerry graduated from McKinley High School in 2000. His family says his education was important to him so he continued on to Ohio State.
He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Ecology. He became a teacher and moved to South Korea where he taught English.
His aunts say it was no surprise he made lots of friends there too.
"From his teachers, from his students, from the people that he worked with, the community, the friends he acquired, he was loved there
just as well," said Lisa Lipkins, Jerry's aunt.
Both Lisa Lipkins, and Jerry's other aunt Jacquelin Ridley traveled to Jeonju, South Korea to bring him home. There they learned he
was too sick for a commercial flight. They needed more time and a lot more money to book a medical transport plane. The community and his lifelong friends pitched in with a gofundme.com account.
Jerry didn't make it.
"We were with him in Korea. We were there when he died… just to love him there at that moment is what I will take away " said Ridley.
"He was just an all-around nice guy" said his other aunt Lisa Lipkins.
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