Jerry Elliott was born on November 25, 1936 in Fort Scott, Kansas. He graduated with an A.B. degree from the University of Kansas in 1958. He earned his law (LL.B.) degree from the same school in 1964. He was an ROTC student and served active duty in the Navy. He was married and has one grown son. Elliot passed away on April 5, 2010.
After law school, Judge Elliott worked as a law clerk for Judge Wesley Brown of the U.S. District Court in Wichita. In 1966, he joined the law firm Foulston, Siefkin, Powers & Eberhardt where he focused on appellate practice and creditors' rights.