Jerry was born in Milwaukee on January 16, 1943. He was devoted to his mother, Phyllis, and a loving, affectionate big brother to Kathy. His most treasured childhood memories were the many carefree days driving their prized Chris Craft on Pewaukee Lake, impressing everyone with his waterskiing talents. Jerry graduated from Bay View High School in 1961 and briefly served as a cook in the U.S. Army reserves.
Jerry moved to Lake Geneva in 1967 where he established himself as one of the town’s best car salesmen. His civic engagement included membership in the Lions Club and Jaycees, and a multiyear stint as the town Santa Claus. He was an active member of St. Francis de Sales Church and coordinated the annual car raffle to benefit both the church and its school.
Jerry considered himself the luckiest guy in the world when he married Sharon, his wife of 34 years. Together, they enjoyed a happy life full of travel with family and friends including several trips to Door County, Hawaii and Key West. They socialized extensively with Phyllis and Sharon’s mother, Millie Kwiatkowski, including some epic New Year’s Eve celebrations. Jerry and Sharon were always happiest on their boat, Roomers, sailing in Lake Geneva and then off the coast of California when they moved to San Diego in 2004.
Jerry’s three children, Molly, Bob and Cate each inherited his goofy sense of humor, stubborn streak and love of the Green Bay Packers and The Marquette Golden Eagles. They, along with their spouses Kirk, Anne and John will miss his quick wit, gentle teasing, and the giant tubs of popcorn he sent at Christmas. Jerry was fortunate to live for several years near Kathy and her family, and was especially close to his brother-in-law Kevin Waldeck and her children, niece Sarah Waldeck and nephew Dalton Waldeck. He was lifelong friends with his brothers-in-law Tom (Barb) Kwiatkowski and Gerard (Rene) Kwiatkowski, and loved his numerous nieces and nephews.
More than anything, Jerry loved being a grandpa and his two grandchildren were the brightest lights in the life. Edy’s smile and spirit filled him with joy, and he was in constant awe of her creativity and artistic talent. In Will, he had a kindred sports enthusiast who could talk endlessly about game day predictions and player stats. They were blessed to have such a fun and loving grandpa and they will miss him terribly.
Jerry retired from selling cars in 2008 but landed his dream job as an usher for the San Diego Padres where he got paid to watch baseball games and joke around with fans. In his spare time, he brought Sharon a daily morning latte, doted on their cats, took meticulous care of Roomers, and watched a lot of ESPN. Following Sharon’s retirement in 2019, Jerry’s life came full circle back to Lake Geneva where he picked right back up with his numerous friends who could always count on his regular deliveries of corny jokes and tasty baked goods. He and Sharon hosted family and friends at their townhouse in Geneva National, and rarely missed a Friday fish fry.
Jerry died unexpectedly on February 16, 2021. He was preceded in death by Phyllis, Millie, Kathy, Kevin, and his father-in-law Edward. While Jerry’s surviving family and friends will always love and miss him, we know that he is at peace with them in eternal life.
Services for Jerry will be held at a later date. In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, Jerry's family has asked that you make a donation to the Lake Geneva YMCA.
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Derrick Funeral Home of Lake Geneva is more than honored to be assisting Jerry's family.
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Geneva Lakes Family YMCA
203 Wells St. Lake Geneva, WI 53147, Lake Geneva WI 53147