NEAL P. GOSWAMI
BENNINGTON -- James Colgate "J.C." Jerome, 88, a former Select Board member and owner of the Mount Anthony Country Club, died Monday at the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington.
Jerome and his family owned and operated the Mount Anthony Country Club for more than 50 years. He was an accomplished golfer, winning several Vermont Amateur Championships, and finishing in second place at the 1951 New England Amateur. He played in the 1954 U.S. Open Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J.
Bennington Town Clerk Timothy Corcoran said Jerome always viewed the club as a public good. "He said, ‘We don't really own it; we're the caretakers,'" Corcoran said.
Jerome served one term as a member of the Bennington Select Board, Corcoran said, and was a member of the board when Corcoran was first elected.
"When I got elected in 1973 I was 22 years old. Of course, I was going to come in and change everything in the first 30 days. He in his very blunt way told me that wasn't going to happen," Corcoran said. "I was going to do this and that and the other thing. The other board members were a little more reserved, but he was blunt in a good way, that I had a lot to learn."
As a member of the board, Jerome was focused on property rights and was "a supporter of letting the manager manage," Corcoran said.
Jerome married Susan Fuller and the couple had three children, Virginia Sheldon Jerome, William Fuller Jerome and James Colgate Jerome Jr. He later married Marie Stafford in 1977.
The son of William Travers Jerome Jr. and Hope (Colgate) Jerome, he was born in Yonkers, N.Y., on Jan. 23, 1924. He attended school at the Old School House in Old Bennington before graduating from Riverdale School in Bronx, N.Y.
Jerome joined the Army in 1943 after his first semester at Cornell University. He was part of the 10th Mountain Division, skilled ski troops stationed in the Italian Alps. Gen. George Price Hays, who commanded the 10th Division, called the unit's assignment the most important and hazardous in Italy.
Jerome was awarded the Bronze Star for his service. According to his biography, Jerome was the only cousin of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to serve in combat in World War II.
Jerome returned to Cornell after the war, graduating in 1949 from its College of Agriculture with a bachelor's degree in genetics. He returned to Bennington and became a successful dairy and cattle farmer, serving as president of Fillmore Farms.