Taff was raised in Lamesa, Texas. And he also lived in Anadarko, Oklahoma in the 1940s. His aunt and uncle had a small grocery store south of the school. Taff was a son of Doris and E.B.Teaff. He lost this letter "e" from his surname around 1969. He worked in his grandparent's grocery store which was named Allen's Grocery. Jerry then worked as a bookkeeper at the Cameron Lumber Company, and served in the US Air Force. His family was living in Anadarko Oklahoma in 1942-1945, and then they moved to Texas. In 1958 Taff graduated from Lamessa high school and then received a degree in government from Texas Tech in Lubbock in 1962.
He began working in the media at 17, when he worked at KPET in Lamesa. He went on to work at stations in New Haven, Connecticut at WTNH-TV, Flint, Michigan at WJRT-TV and Dallas at WFAA-TV. While working in Flint, Taff covered the story of a local teenager named Michael Moore who had been elected to the school board of Davison, Michigan. Taff mentored Moore and his friends for a year and a half, showing him the news business. Moore later said of Taff "He was the one media person in a town dominated by General Motors to have the courage to report the truth."
Taff joined WISN-TV as anchor in September 1979. He interviewed Jimmy Carter in October 1980. While working at WISN, Taff mentored reporters such as Shaun Robinson, Ben Tracy, and Jason DeRusha. He also taught a course on journalism at Carroll University.
After serving as lead male anchor for WISN-TV for 25 years, Taff retired on May 25, 2005. Taff was inducted into the Milwaukee Media Hall of Fame on October 23, 2009. He lives in New Braunfels, Texas. He has two daughters DiAnn Curtis and Denise McMahan.
Taff's parents sued him in a Waukesha County, Wisconsin court in 1985, claiming he owed them nearly $90,000 Though the lawsuit was dismissed, Taff was fired from WISN. The station later re-hired him in 1987.
- Tim Cuprisin, "Jerry's Last Tomorrow" Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 23, 2005, at 1E. https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=E74aAAAAIBAJ&sjid=ZUUEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6451,2456788
- "Jerry Taff to retire from Channel 12" Milwaukee Business Journal, June 29, 2004. http://milwaukee.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2004/06/28/daily20.html?jst=b_ln_hl
- Mike Drew, "The Jerry Taff-Michael Moore Connection", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 22, 2004, at E2.
- Tim Cuprisin, "Grateful Taff says goodbye Retiring veteran anchor offers final wish of better tomorrows" Milwaukee Journal Sentinel May 26, 2005
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-07-14. Retrieved 2010-01-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Eileen Davis Huson, "Milwaukee" Media Week, September 5, 2005, at 9.
- Broadcasting & Cable, July 5, 2004 at 22
- Mike Drew, "Taff: his turmoil and his resume," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 12, 1985 at 9. https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=vWcaAAAAIBAJ&sjid=VSoEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6987,2065714
- Talkington, N. Dale; Hart Wilson, Pauletta (1999). Anadarko: Days of Glory. Houston, Texas: N. Dale Talkington. p. 1193.