Thomas Fortune Jeter

January 2, 2024


Past Services

Sunday January 07, 2024
3:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Altmeyer Funeral Home – Denbigh Chapel
12893 Jefferson Avenue
Newport News, VA 23608
(757) 874-4200 | Directions
Additional Information:

Military honors will be rendered at 3 pm.

Thomas Fortune Jeter, 63, of Gloucester, Virginia, was a remarkable soul who touched the lives of many. He passed away on January 2, 2024 in Virginia. Born in Pennsylvania, Thomas led a life filled with dedication to his country, bravery, and love for his family. He is preceded in death by his son, Thomas Adrian Jeter, father, Thomas James Jeter, brother, David Dasch, and mother, Jessie Lee Jeter.

Thomas served his country with unwavering commitment, bringing his expertise as a Retired Navy Damage Controlman (DC). His time in the military earned him the Navy and Marine Corp Achievement Award, the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, the Navy Good Conduct Medal, the Navy Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Navy & Marine Corps Overseas Ribbon, the Humanitarian Service Military Medal, and Southwest Asia Service Military Ribbon. He was also made an honorary Kentucky Colonel. With a profound understanding of chemical, biological, and radiological decontamination, he ensured the safety of those around him. Thomas was also part of the Navy Alcohol Drug and Safety Action Program and the Navy Reader Development program, further showcasing his multifaceted talents.

Having served in three wars—Operation Iraqi Freedom, Desert Storm, and Afghanistan—Thomas embodied the true spirit of a warrior. His dedication to protecting others extended beyond the military, as he also excelled in law enforcement, as a Unit Operations Specialist, and as a Company Level Intelligence cell member.

Beyond his professional achievements, Thomas had a wide range of interests that brought him joy. He possessed an innate talent for mechanics and had a deep appreciation for classic cars. As a loyal fan, he cheered passionately for the Dallas Cowboys and found excitement in watching professional wrestling. Thomas’s love for sci-fi movies allowed him to escape into captivating worlds, while his adventurous spirit led him to hike and cherish the beauty of the great outdoors. Whether it was the serenity of the beach or the rhythm of dancing, he found solace in the simple pleasures of life. But above all, spending time with his beloved family and exploring new places through travel brought him immeasurable happiness.

Thomas leaves behind a legacy that will forever be cherished by his loved ones. He is survived by his devoted wife, Kerrie Lea Jeter, and his daughters Kristina Nicole Jeter, Ashley Marie Thomas, Elyssa Ann Thomas, and Amber Nicole Ruhlen (Cody), and along with his granddaughters, Olivia Jefferson, Grace Kitzler-Tyler, Trinity Tyler, and Alexandria Tyler, they will forever carry his spirit in their hearts.

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Kerrie Jeter
2 months ago

Tom’s Eulogy:
We met in a bar. He was the loudest guy in that bar. 3 months later -same bar and there he was still the loudest guy in the bar. But I couldn’t help feeling even the first time I met him that there was something more to this man. He gave me opportunity to get to know him and boy was I right.
He frequently asked me throughout our marriage, “Am I what you expected?” No, Tom you are more.
I believe you only get one true love and he is mine. My life began when I met him.
He embraced and enjoyed being a husband, father and papa. It came so natural for him. Each of his children had a unique and special relationship with him. He had evidently told each one that they were his favorite. Sometimes they would tell me “I know I am dad’s favorite.” I would smile knowing he probably said it to each one. He did.
It was important to Thomas to leave a personal legacy. He had traveled going to places people were wanting to escape from, shook a lot of hands that most people couldn’t get close to, seen, done, and took part in many things some of which have even been documented in history. But people will never know too much about it if at all. He never said much and was very vague and eluded if he did. He never boasted about his career accomplishments although there were so many. Never wanted a spotlight on him. He said his favorite color was gray. Gray was the color nobody took notice of. He liked to be gray. He didn’t need to put everything out there, most people just seemed to have an unspoken understanding of him. He was “That Guy”.
He did have a skill of transitioning from combat zone to family life with seamless ease.
All of this was still not the impact that was important to him in life. Thomas always said that his legacy was his children. That they are his little footprints. I’m sure he knew his legacy is secure through his daughters and granddaughters. Through them is his greatness which will show. 
I will miss everything about him. His infectious laugh, ornery ways, bright smile, gleaming chocolate eyes, his counsel, big heart and beautiful soul.  He had a work hard, play hard, mentality and a philosophy of “All or Nothing.”
He had close friends that he referred to as brother and everyone that got to know him felt comfortable and liked him instantly.
Tom, God gave me you and what a blessing you are that I was to know love such as this. You will forever have my heart. Please rest and be at peace baby until we reunite again. 

Marvin Holt
3 months ago

Uncle Fortune you will truly be missed. I really feel blessed and honored that I got a chance to meet you. I will always remember the time we spent together just talking and joking. We will always love you and speak highly of you.

Mike Neiss
3 months ago

The first time I met Tom I just knew this man loved his country . He embodies everything you would consider in a true ” patriot ” in every sense of the word . Over time I also learned how much he loved his wife and his family . Oh how Tom loved that red Chevy and the COWBOYS ( that’s the only one I hold against him 🙂 . I am truly honored to have met this man and deeply saddened by this loss. Godspeed …and God Bless my friend .

Don Lalonde
3 months ago

Rest in peace Tom you where a great friend and shipmate. I will never forget you. Fair winds and following seas. Thanks for being my best man.

Cheryl J Skinner Tri-State Military Museum
3 months ago

May the love of God surround you and your family during this difficult time,

 May you come to know that the love of God is with you always,

May your memories of Thomas Fortune Jeter, give you peace, comfort and strength…

Rest now in the arms of our Lord your mission on earth is complete.

I thank you for your service to our Country and my Freedom. You will not be forgotten.

My thoughts

and prayers to the family of ….

US Navy Veteran, Thomas Fortune Jeter, is “A True American Hero” God Bless†

† Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 †

Cody Lam
3 months ago

Tom was great man and good friend always willing to lend a hand.So sorry for your loss Kerrie and prayers for you and Family. God Bless .

Cheryl Cook
3 months ago

Kerrie, I cannot imagine the pain and heartache you’re feeling. I am praying for your peace and comfort.

3 months ago

Tom was such a sweet, giving man. His love and fierce protection for his family was obvious. My heart aches for Kerrie and his family. Rest in ever loving peace Tom.

Hazel Cronister
3 months ago

We love you Tom, you will forever be in our hearts… until we meet again.
Rest Easy Friend!
Wes & Hazel Cronister

Naida Nicci Lee
3 months ago

I am sooo sorry for you alls loss..I am praying for all of you ?
Hugs and know I am thinking about all of you..