Jerome "Jerry" Heinzman was born to Ferdinand and Zita Heinzman on April 16, 1926, in Mankato, Minn. With two sisters and one brother, Jerry worked the family farm throughout his childhood and teen years while attending St. Peter and Paul Catholic School. Graduating in 1944 from Loyola High School, Jerry worked at the Land O' Lakes Creamery while performing as a musician in a Mankato Polka band. In 1945 he met Geneva "Jean" Holbrook. Jerry and Jean united in marriage April 28, 1947, at St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church.
Seeking new adventures, Jerry and Jean headed west to Longview, Wash., in 1948. Finding employment at Longview Fiber and setting up house in an 18-foot travel trailer, Jerry and Jean set about raising a family. Three of their four boys were born while settled in Longview. In 1955, the family moved to Walla Walla, where Jerry entered the retail sales world as a Watkins Products distributor and their fourth son was born. Jerry, often referred to as a "Jack of all trades," worked in retail sales at Sears, insurance sales with Prudential; traveled the country buying and selling gold, precious metals, coins and gems; maintenance at DeSales High School; a handyman who roto-tilled gardens, roofed houses, mowed lawns and trimmed hedges. Jerry retired as manager of Walla Walla's St. Vincent de Paul thrift store in 1987. Jerry often characterized his work and stewardship at St. Vincent's as the most rewarding and fulfilling years of his life. As a member of St. Patrick's Catholic Church since 1955, Jerry was active in the choir, maintenance committee and pastoral council.
Jerry was a Past Grand Knight and Honorary Life Member of the Knights of Columbus. As a Third and Fourth Degree Knight, Jerry lived the principles of the order with his quiet acts of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism. Giving of his time, talent and treasure, Jerry volunteered at St. Vincent de Paul, Helpline, Walla Walla Catholic Schools, Knights of Columbus and others. While residing in their winter home of Quartzite, Ariz., Jerry and wife Jean were instrumental in the establishment and building of the new Queen of Peace Catholic Church, which celebrated its first mass on Christmas 1995.
Left to live on in Jerry's giving spirit are wife. Geneva "Jean" Heinzman; sons, Steve, Dan, Dick and Phil; daughters-in-law, Irene, Karen and Cindy; grandchildren, Dusty, Phil, Christanna (Chris Mondaine), Samuel (Danielle), Greg (Angie), Matt, Brian (Amy), Chelsea and Addison; great-grandchildren. Colton, Conner, Imanee and Atticus; sisters, Irene Hayden of Minnesota and Mary Hayes of Colorado; numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. Jerry was preceded in death by his mother, Zita; father, Ferdinand; and brother, Ralph.
The rosary will be said Tuesday at 7 p.m. Herring Funeral Home. A funeral mass will be celebrated Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010, at 10 a.m. at St. Patrick's Church. Please join the family in celebrating Jerry's life at a reception following mass.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Vincent de Paul, Helpline and St. Patrick's Catholic Church.