Dr. Ray Bohlin,
I attended the Mind Games conference in the Ozarks of Arkansas twice--once in 1997 and again in 1999. I remembered seeing you there both times along with Jerry Solomon. I thought the both of you taught very well. Anyway, I'm writing to tell you that about a month ago I visited the Probe Ministries web site and found an article by Jerry Solomon. I scrolled to bottom of the page and found his bio. I was hoping to see how his new job as an assistant pastor was going when instead I was shocked to see that he has died. I don't know who to contact to ask how he died, but I thought you should surely know. I tried writing a letter to Todd Kappelman also, but I haven't received a reply from him. I am very concerned. I had a few personal conversations with Jerry, but unfortunately I didn't keep in touch very well. Please tell me how he died. I would very much like to know.
I hope all is well with you and your wife and I appreciate it if you have taken the time to read this email. Thank you.
Thanks for writing and I appreciate your desire to have some more information. Jerry's loss has been difficult for us all. Jerry's diagnosis and death came very quickly and suddenly, and unfortunately was not painless.
In June of last year, Jerry began having unexplained back and stomach pain. Over a few weeks the possibilities were narrowed to either pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas (that although periodic was not curable, only managable) or pancreatic cancer, an unusually aggressive and untreatable form of cancer. By the last week in July, while we were teaching the Mind Games Conference at Ozark for the first time without him, the diagnosis of cancer was confirmed and Jerry was told that chemo and radiation would not cure but only prolong his life for a few months and the cancer had spread far enough to make surgery futile. He was given as much as six months to live. Jerry opted to undergo an alternative herbal and nutritional regimen which wasn't very pleasant either, and for several months he seemed to hold his own. But in the fall he took a turn for the worse and tests confirmed that the cancer had grown and spread further. From that point, Jerry deteriorated quickly and went home to be with Jesus on December 18, 2000, having spent the last six months of his life at home, ministered to by his natural and church family.
The memorial service lasted three hours, padded with Jerry's love of music and worship as well as a wonderful pictorial tribute on PowerPoint and numerous spontaneous testimonies from attendees including myself, Probe's President, Kerby Anderson, and many young people like yourself, whom Jerry had impacted in his years of ministry. The time flew by.
Jerry is survived by his wife Marcia, his son Devon, and his daughter Paget, who is mother to Jerry's grandbaby Colton ("the most beautiful grandbaby in the world," according to proud grandpa Jerry!).
Marcia, particularly, still grieves and understandably wonders why God took her husband home who seemed to have so much more to give. There are no real answers to these questions this side of eternity but we trust that God is truly sovereign, as Jerry firmly believed, and that Jerry is rejoicing with the saints in heaven.
In fact, if the Lord leads, a short note from you expressing your sympathy and Jerry's impact on your life and what you are doing now would be a great reminder to Marcia of Jerry's continuing impact in this life. You can send it to the Probe office and we'll make sure she gets it. Thanks for caring enough to ask.
I'm not surprised you haven't heard from Todd. He is usually a meticulous responder to letters but Jerry's death was particularly hard on him and he may just not be able to write about it yet.