Music 23

Jerry Lee Kerlee

July 20, 1940 ~ April 17, 2022 (age 81)


Jerry Lee Kerlee, age 81, of Black Mountain, NC, passed away on Sunday, April 17, 2022 at the John F. Keever, Jr. Solace Center in Asheville, NC.

Jerry was born on July 20, 1940, in Buncombe Co., NC to the late Leander Columbus Kerlee and Laura Blanche Bradley Kerlee.

Jerry served his community as a policeman at the Black Mountain Police Department for 20+ years and was Captain until his retirement. He enjoyed being outdoors, hunting and fishing. Jerry loved music. He was the lead singer for the band, “Jerry Kerlee and the Royal Rhythms”. They made several records and were inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

Most of all, Jerry loved his family dearly. He was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He will be missed by all who knew and loved him.

In addition to his parents, Jerry was preceded in death by his sister, Julia Kelly.

He leaves behind his beloved wife Ora Lee Pilkey Kerlee; two sons, Rick Kerlee of Greenlee, NC and Stan Kerlee of Asheville; a daughter, Tammy Kerlee of Black Mountain; a brother, Kenneth Kerlee of Black Mountain; two granddaughters, Nicole Kerlee of Greenville, SC and Devon White of Marion, NC; a grandson, Brandon Kerlee of Old Fort, NC; seven great-grandchildren; his beloved pet dachshund, “Molly Dear”; and two very dear friends, Earl Lewis of Asheville and Sonny Slagle of Black Mountain.

Jerry’s family would like to thank Care Partners Hospice and Palliative Care in Asheville for the loving care they showed Jerry.

A Celebration of Jerry’s life will be held on Saturday, May 21, 2022, at 2:00 PM at Kerlee Heights Baptist Church, 208 Kerlee Heights Rd., Black Mountain, NC 28711 conducted by Reverend Kenneth Rhinehardt.

The family respectfully requests that any memorial contributions in Jerry’s honor to please consider: Kerlee Baptist Church, 208 Kerlee Heights Rd., Black Mountain, NC 28711.

Online condolences may be left at:

Penland Family Funeral Home is honored to be assisting the Kerlee family with arrangements.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Jerry Lee Kerlee, please visit our floral store.


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