I last spoke with Jerry Haynes a few weeks ago. He wasn't feeling well -- he'd been diagnosed with Parkinson's a while back and had moved to Longview -- but said he was in good spirits. We didn't talk long; he said he'd call back later, but never did. Now comes word from WFAA, which aired his Mr. Peppermint for close to four decades, that Jerry Haynes has died at the age of 84, which is heartbreaking news for those of us raised on the children's program populated by Muffin the Bear, Mr. Wiggly Worm and Captain Candy in which there continues to be much interest -- so much so a gentleman from West Virgina sent me an email a few days ago asking me how to reach Jerry while insisting "our company is interested in airing some of his programs and doing a possible reboot of the show."
In '07, Jerry and I spoke about his turning 80. He said at the time he didn't want to dwell on the occasion.
"I don't wanna talk about it, being 80," he says, chuckling. "It's weird. That's so damned old. I see guys who are 80 and, like my mother used to say when we left her at the rest home, 'Son, those people are old.' It's OK. I feel all right. As long as you feel like counting the snowflakes when they fall outside your house, you're in good shape. And a few fell this morning."
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Our condolences to his wife Doris and their children, among them son Gibby, and grandchildren.