HURLEY, Wis. - John W. Gerry, 99, a longtime resident of South Carey, died peacefully on Nov. 23, 2022, at Villa Maria nursing home in Hurley.
John was born in Hurley, on Oct. 25, 1923, to John and Freda (Kemp) Gerry.
He attended the Cary school and J.E. Murphy high school, graduating with the class of 1942.
After graduation, he worked for a short time for the Pickens-Mathers mining company at the Cary mine until he was drafted during World War II.
He enlisted in the U.S. Naval Service in April 1943 and trained at Great Lakes, Illinois, and San Diego, California, as a torpedo man second class in the submarine service aboard the USS Plunger, USS S-41 and S30, USS Catfish, and USS Razorback in the Asiatic Pacific.
After his honorable discharge in December 1946, he returned to Hurley and resumed employment at the Cary mine until its closure and then transferred to Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota, and then Taconite Harbor, Minnesota, before returning to Hurley. He worked for Hurley Plastics and Wayne Nasi Construction for a short time, before beginning his own carpentry and remodeling business. He worked well into his 80s building handcrafted cabinetry, China hutches, and baby cradles and numerous home remodeling projects throughout the local area. He passed on his knowledge and talents to his sons, who carry on the tradition of fine workmanship.
On Oct. 22, 1945, John was married to the love of his life, Kathryn (Peggy) Pedretti, at the Saint Mary's rectory in Hurley. Together they raised six children and enjoyed 75 years together until her passing on June 21, 2021.
John was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1580 and was a member of the Cloverland Barbershop Chorus. He enjoyed flower and vegetable gardening and, even into his 90s, could be found outside in his yard working in his rock gardens. One thing he especially enjoyed was visiting with family and friends, and telling exciting stories of his early years growing up in Hurley, World War II, working in the mine, and many more topics. He had an excellent memory and was sharp right to the end. He was a loyal Green Bay Packers fan and loved to watch old westerns on TV.
He is preceded in passing by his parents, John and Freda Gerry; his wife, Peggy; his daughter, Paula Rouse; and siblings, Dorothy (Elwin) Schimke, Doreen (William) Heilig, and Bert (Phyllis) Gerry.
John is survived by his children, Janice Gerry of Hurley, Mary Beth (James) Merritt of Ironwood, Michigan, John (Paula) Gerry of Milwaukee, Jim (Deb) Gerry of Hurley, and Dan (Paula) Gerry of Hurley; 16 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren; his son-in-law, Tom Rouse of Hurley; his sisters, Beverly Eppolite of Byron, Minnesota, and Joyce (Curt) Rice of La Crosse; and many nieces and nephews.
Mass of Christian burial will be held Thursday, Dec. 1, at Saint Mary's Catholic Church in Hurley, at 11 a.m. with Rev. Hrudaya Raju Sunkara as celebrant. The family will receive relatives and friends from 10 a.m. until the time of Mass at 11 a.m., and then military honors will follow the service.
Interment will take place in the spring at Riverside Cemetery in Ironwood.
The family has chosen McKevitt-Patrick Funeral of Ironwood to honor John's legacy of life. You can leave a condolence or a tribute at mckevittpatrickfuneralhome.com.