“Larger-than-life” might be bandied about when it comes to describing memorable people, but make no mistake, that term is spot-on when it comes to Texas’ Jerry Monday, who died Tuesday, Dec. 2. One of the most colorful personalities in the coin machine business, Jerry fell ill after contracting Covid-19 and passed away just a few weeks shy of this 86th birthday, which was coming up the 27th of this month.
Sue Monday, his ex-wife who co-founded Century Vending in Southern California with Jerry, said she saw him about six weeks ago in Dallas and while he’d slowed down a bit, she said he was very excited about a new deal. (Sue said, “‘You can’t’ or ‘that will not work’ were not part of his vocabulary,” and that held true even in his later years.) Unfortunately, he fell a couple of days later, hurt his arm and went to a nursing facility for care and physical therapy. It was there that Jerry caught Covid and while it looked like he’d gotten over the hump, things began to turn for the worst this past Sunday.
His lengthy industry resumé includes years as a route operator (Century Games out of Tulsa was where he got his start in 1960) and an arcade operator (even having a game room in Southern California’s Knott’s Berry Farm). He also either owned or worked for distributorships (like Southgate and SunBelt in Texas, Betson West, Circle International and his own Century Vending). Jerry also worked for manufacturers like Nintendo, Leisure Sports and his Century game brand.
In his non-coin machine life, he served in the U.S. Navy. Following his discharge, Jerry went to work for Associated Booking Corp., which specialized in booking rock ’n’ roll acts including a lot of big names back in the day like Sam Cooke, the Osmond Brothers and B.J. Thomas. Through that gig, Jerry met and struck up a longtime friendship with country recording star Conway Twitty.
“He lived a great life and lived it on his terms,” Sue said. “He made some enemies, but many more great friends along the way. He was a character!” She added that even though they divorced, “fortunately, we remained friends through the years.”
In a Facebook post, Sue shared: “When I met Jerry in 1982, I jumped on Mr. Magoo’s wild roller coaster ride…lots of highs, scary free-falls and lots of bumps, but always fun and exciting. We started a company together, Century Vending. Jerry pushed me out of my comfort zone, taught me to me a businesswoman and helped create the woman I am today. I am grateful I got to take the ride.”
An outdoor memorial service is being planned for sometime in the spring in Dallas. RePlay will share details as soon as we learn them. Meanwhile, read more about Jerry’s life and career in the April 2016 “Where Are They Now?” feature written by RePlay Publisher Eddie Adlum. It can be found here: www.replaymag.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/WhereAreThey_JerryMonday0416.pdf
Following the announcement of Jerry’s passing, Reggie Moultrie of Moute Pointe in Kansas wrote with his thoughts on his friend: