Gerald "Jerry" Langlois
May 21st 1948 - Nov 2nd 2007
Gerald “Jerry” Langlois was a man rich in the things in life that count: a strong work ethic, a true faith in God, and above all, an unconditional love for his family. A dedicated father and loving husband, Jerry was a true family man who cherished all the time he spent with his wife, children and grandchildren. In their company, you could always find a warm, proud smile on his face.
The year 1928 represented a brief period of peace and prosperity in the U.S. It was also a time when the nation was astounded by the exploits of Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, and George Eastman had just produced the first color motion picture. In Muskegon, Michigan, Leo J. Langlois, Sr. and his wife, Helen (Williams), also had much to celebrate. On May 21, 1928, the couple was blessed with the birth of a healthy baby boy, a son they named Gerald. One of ten Langlois children, Jerry had plenty of opportunities to create unforgettable childhood memories with his five brothers, William, Leo, Louis, Ray and Robert, and four sisters, Dorothy, Marcella, Helen and Lois.
Jerry’s father worked very hard to support their large family. As an entrepreneur, he owned and operated a grocery store in Muskegon Heights, but also ran a bus line from Muskegon to Chicago. Meanwhile, Jerry’s mother also worked outside the home in administrative work, but most often stayed home during the summer with the kids. Jerry received his education in the Muskegon Heights Public Schools and went on to graduate from Muskegon Heights High. To earn extra money as a teenager, he didn’t do a traditional job, but instead dug graves in St. Mary’s Cemetery. Soon after high school, Jerry followed the same patriotic calling of many young men of the time, and enlisted in the Merchant Marines working on the Great Lakes.
Jerry had a pretty wonderful 20th birthday, because it was on this day that he married the love of his life, Gwendolyn Carlson. Together, they spent the next 57 years, raising their six wonderful children: Jan, Gerald, Susan, twins, Tim and Jim, and Gary, and sharing many happy memories as a family. Time together as a family was very important to Jerry and Gwen, and they took many opportunities to go camping. Whether they were up north in Northern Michigan or close to home at Sleepy Hollow, Pioneer Park or Timber Shores, the family just had fun being together. Because Jerry was a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan, his kids fondly remember many unforgettable trips to Wrigley Field to see games. This was, however, after a night stay at a local hotel with a pool, and a pancake breakfast at IHOP before the game. When it came to the holidays, Jerry was always in his glory surrounded by the love of his family. Not to mention the delicious food. They would have one large turkey for dinner and a second for snacks later.
Jerry was described by his kids as a true “family man” – funny, kind and gentle. Yet, he also had boundaries that all his children knew not to cross. It was also important to Jerry that his children get a good education, and he would often remind them by saying, “When the school calls, it better be good news – I don’t care whose right or wrong. . .it just better be good news.” Because Jerry grew up in a large family, he knew first hand or through one of his siblings the sneaky ways of kids. Unfortunately, this meant his kids couldn’t get away with much of anything!
Besides being a devoted husband and father, Jerry worked very hard to provide the best for his family. Along with his three brothers, Jerry helped build the Langlois family business, wherein they initially sold wringer washing machines and dryers out of their mother’s house. One of their first major investments in the company was advertising their store in the Muskegon Heights parade, where Jerry’s son, Jerry, rode the float with a wringer washer. They eventually opened their first store on Sanford St. and the second store on Peck St., where they expanded their merchandise to include other appliances as well as furniture; hence the store became named Langlois Furniture Store. Jerry worked with his brothers in the business for over 40 years before finally retiring.
Once Jerry and Gwen had an empty nest and were retired, they enjoyed getting together more often with their many friends. And although Gwen had big dreams of having a beautiful garden that would be highlighted in the Better Home and Gardens, neither she nor Jerry had the energy by then to even do the yard work. Then again, Gwen did get the house featured with “advice trivia” for cleaning. While relaxing, Jerry loved to listen to AM talk radio and all the sporting events, as well watch ESPN, CNN, the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. He was a member of St. Francis DeSales Catholic Church, the Vikings, the Mona Shores Optimist Club and a charter member of the Mona Shores Wrestling Club.
Whenever the grandchildren and great grandchildren came to visit, Jerry and Gwen always found the “oomph” they needed to be active and doting grandparents. They fully supported their grandkids in all their schooling and sports events, which alone kept the couple very busy! Because Jerry was such an animal lover, there were also many four legged animals numbered to the Langlois clan. The kids especially remember “Jocko the dog” who traveled between three of the brothers and their families. Jerry also had a special one-eyed cat named Chelly, who could do no wrong in Jerry’s eyes, and also visited all the kids.
Jerry was a truly rich man with a family that loved him dearly. Yet, when it came to the old dollar, he was very frugal. So much so, he still had touch tone rotary phones in his house to save money. When it came to his family, Jerry was never stingy with his love, and he shared it abundantly with his loved ones. In fact, on Halloween, Jerry took his beloved wife Gwen out to dinner, and instead of heading home to hand out candy, he took her to the lake to watch the sunset together. What a wonderful last memory for his wife and family to hold in their hearts.
Sadly, Jerry died on Friday, November 2, 2007, of complications from some undetected blood clots. He was 79.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Gwen; sons, Gerald (Rita) Langlois of Muskegon, Tim ( Kathleen) Langlois of Portage, Jim Langlois of CA, Gary (Pat) Langlois of Muskegon; daughters; Jan (Dean) Malinowski of CA, Susan (Adrian) Schroeder of IL; sisters: Dorothy Moran, Helen (Monte) Tietsort, Lois (Ed) Lynch; sisters-in law: Virginia Langlois and Kathleen Langlois both of Muskegon; brothers; Louis (Phyllis) Langlois of Muskegon and Ray (Sandra) Langlois of Muskegon; several grandchildren and great grandchildren. Jerry was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Robert J. Langlois, William Langlois, Leo Langlois Jr. and sister Marcella Wilbalda
Funeral services for Jerry will be held on Monday, November 5, at 11:00 a.m. at St. Frances de Sales Catholic Church with a 1 hour visitation prior. Father Bill Langlois will be officiating. Cremation services will follow with interment at St. Mary's Cemetery at a later date. Friends and relatives may visit with Jerry’s family on Sunday, November 4, from 2- 4 & 7-9 p.m. at Clock Life Story Funeral Home - Muskegon, with a Rosary service beginning at 8 p.m. Memorial contributions may be made to Mona Shores Optimist Club or St. Frances DeSales Catholic Church. Please visit Jerry’s memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you may share a memory with his family or sign his online guest book.