MILWAUKEE, Wis. - Gerald "Jerry" Hendrickson, 79, a lifelong Erwin Township resident, died Monday, Dec. 6, 2021, at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee. Jerry went home to his Lord, supported by the love of his family after a lengthy illness during which he personified faith, courage, spirit and strength. At the time of his death, he continued to live on the family farm that has nurtured four generations of family.
Jerry was born Aug. 16, 1942, in Ironwood, son of the late Andrew and Ellen (Ahonen) Hendrickson. He attended Erwin and Ironwood schools graduating from Luther L. Wright High School with the class of 1960.
Jerry then proudly served his country for four years in the U.S. Navy. Much of his tour of duty was spent aboard the aircraft carrier USS Hornet. He was deployed in the waters off Japan, and served during the time of the Cuban missile crisis.
After his military service, Jerry worked in construction, logging, and wood products industries. He finished his work career with 20 years of service to the U.S. Postal Service as a rural mail carrier. He developed many friendships and memories along his routes.
Jerry gave devoted care to the family farm. He loved and enjoyed any time spent gardening, cooking and even snow plowing. He spent many enjoyable Novembers at the family hunting camp during deer season, some seasons lucky, some not, but always good doses of camaraderie with brothers and nephews.
Jerry was a sports fan all of his life. The Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Lions gave him joy in the good years and sorrow through the hapless years. He remained loyal. For many years, Jerry forewent family gatherings to travel to Detroit for the Lions-Packers football game that was then always played on Thanksgiving Day. It was a yearly trip he thoroughly enjoyed. On the weekend that he passed, he knew of the Lions' first win of the present season.
Jerry was a lifelong member and worshipped at Trinity Lutheran Church in Ironwood.
Jerry is survived by his brother, David and his wife, Paula, of New Lenox, Illinois; and by his sister, Kathy Anderson and her husband, Jim, of Ironwood. His aunt, Ruth Keppers of Duluth, Minnesota; and his uncle, Dan Ahonen and his wife, Bev, of Wakefield, Michigan, also survive. He was blessed to enjoy 11 nieces and nephews and 21 great-nieces and nephews who also lovingly mourn his loss. Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by his brothers, Andrew Hendrickson, Jr. in 2015, and Mark Hendrickson in 1980; and by his nephew, Aaron Anderson, in 2020.
The family holds heartfelt gratitude for the compassionate care provided to Jerry by the staffs at the Marshfield Clinic-Minocqua and at Froedtert Hospital-Milwaukee throughout his illness. The family appreciation extends to Jerry's neighbors and friends who have given their support and care to him.
Memorial contributions honoring Jerry can be made to the Erwin Township Historical Society at N8765 East End Road, Ironwood, MI 49938.
A memorial service will be held in Jerry's honor at a later date. Lakeside Memorial Chapel in Wakefield is in charge of arrangements.