Award Winning Local Sportscaster and Sports Writer Passes Away

Jasper- Gerald Paul “Jerry” Birge, an award winning TV and radio broadcaster and sportswriter, passed away Friday, December 2, 2022 at home at  age 83, after a short fight with leukemia. After attending Indiana State Teachers College(now Indiana State University) on a basketball scholarship, Jerry married Maggie (Blueher) of Terre Haute, Indiana in 1958.  

In 1959, Jerry joined WITZ radio in Jasper, Indiana, reporting sports and broadcasting  play-by-play. 

In 1961, he briefly worked at WJPS radio in Evansville, Indiana before moving to  television as sports anchor for Evansville’s WTVW (Channel 7). While at WTVW, Jerry  was also the television voice for the Evansville College Aces (now University of  Evansville) basketball team from 1962 to 1967. 

In 1967, Jerry returned to Jasper as sports editor of The Dubois County Daily Herald (now The Herald), where he won many statewide honors for his work including Best  Sports Section awards from the Hoosier State Press Association. During this time, Jerry  also announced the Race of the Day from Ellis Park horse track in Evansville on WEHT (Channel 25), was a member of the broadcasting team which televised the annual  Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) boys’ basketball tournament pairings  on WTTV (Channel 4) in Indianapolis, served as president of the Indiana Sportswriters  and Sportscasters Association, was an active board member in the early formation of  the Indiana High School Basketball Hall-of-Fame, was the founder and chairman of the  Dubois County Amateur Golf Tournament for 25 years, was co-founder and charter  member of the J-Men Athletic Club of Jasper, and a co-founder of the Wettlauf 5-K race  that is still part of Jasper’s Strassenfest. 

In 1983, Jerry moved to Bloomington, Indiana where he worked as a Regional Manager  for TCI (now Comcast Corporation). During that time, he also did work for the Bloomington Herald-Telephone (now the Bloomington Herald-Times) where he was a  print reporter for the Indianapolis Colts of the NFL. In 1986, Jerry returned to Evansville  to work briefly as news director for WTVW (Channel 7).

In 1987, he left Indiana to become news and sports director for WSTO and WVJS radio  and Cable Channel 2 in Owensboro, Kentucky, a position he held for more than a  decade earning honors for sports broadcasting, but was also proud of the dozens of  young journalists he trained and encouraged, many of whom went on to TV journalism  careers in the Evansville market and beyond. Jerry also did television play-by-play for  Kentucky Wesleyan basketball and football programs. 

From 2002 to 2008, Jerry served as marketing and communications manager for the  Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph in Owensboro. He also created and produced  the “Around Owensboro with Jerry Birge” program on local cable television in  Owensboro which he hosted daily for 15 years. 

In April 2010, Jerry was inducted into the Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters  Association’s Hall of Fame, honoring more than 25 years covering Indiana sports in the  newspaper, and on the air for both TV and radio. 

Jerry and his wife Maggie retired to Jasper in 2014. 

Jerry’s father, Cyril Birge, is a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, was a  Big Ten Conference basketball official and officiated the legendary 1954 Indiana state  basketball championship game portrayed in the movie “Hoosiers.”  

Jerry is survived by his wife of 64 years. Together, they raised seven children and have  13 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.