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Life Story / Obituary
Gerald L. “Jerry” Metzmaker was a hard and loyal worker his whole life through. He never asked for much, and enjoyed the simple things in life like baseball, bowling and camping. Most importantly, Jerry loved his family above all and found joy in helping them. In fact, Jerry enjoyed helping everyone, and was always there with a helping hand. Although never much of an affectionate man, children and grandchildren brought out his affectionate side in a lovable and tender way. He will be forever missed and fondly remembered in the hearts of those he leaves behind.
Noted as the most difficult years of the Great Depression, the mid 1930s were a time of great struggle and hardship for families across the nation. As unemployment reached record numbers, the Dust Bowl across the plain states caused great ecological and agricultural damage, adding much to the already weak economy. As storm clouds brewed overseas, World War II was on the horizon during these tumultuous times in America. To lessen the blow, many Americans found solace in baseball as Babe Ruth made his final and 714th home run of his career. They also focused on radio programs and were especially thrilled with the introduction of the new board game, Monopoly.
For Raymond and Zella (Walker) Metzmaker, hope was found with the welcome birth of their second child, a baby boy they named Gerald on November 7, 1935. Born and raised in the small village community of Eagle, Michigan, Jerry grew up alongside his older brother Howard and younger brother Jack. Family oriented, Jerry was especially close to his mother, and was rather shy during his childhood. As a youngster, Jerry shared memorable times together with his family. As he became older, he also became athletic. He excelled in softball, football and basketball. Although school was never one of his priorities, Jerry learned a strong work ethic as a young man and developed into a very hard worker.
Jerry’s ability and dedication for hard work paid off when he began working for Oldsmobile. He was married for a brief time, and even though the marriage ended, he welcomed two wonderful children into his life. Jerry enjoyed time with his kids and going to the Spartan Speedway. His love for baseball found him attending many Detroit Tigers games, too. However, it was while working at Oldsmobile that Jerry‘s life took a turn in a new direction. Introduced by a fellow co-worker in January of 1972, Jerry met and fell in love with a young woman named Theresa DuMond who worked in the same building as Jerry. Their dating relationship soon blossomed into forever when they were joined in marriage on December 30 that same year in Potterville, Michigan.
Jerry and Theresa not only joined their hearts together, but their families as well. Along with Jerry’s two children, Jerry became a dedicated father to Theresa’s three children. Their family enjoyed many great times together over the years camping at various places and seeing the sights. They rooted for Jerry while attending many of his softball games, and even though Jerry was not particularly fond of fishing, he took the boys when they wanted to go, creating lasting memories for them. Continuing to be an avid Tigers fan, Jerry and his family enjoyed taking in several games throughout the years.
Self sacrificing and a hard worker, Jerry was a good provider for his family and always made sure their needs were met. Although he was never much for outward affection, children and grandchildren brought forth an incredible change in that area for him. He loved his family beyond compare, and would do anything to help those he loved and cared about. In fact, it made Jerry’s day to help someone, especially his family. A task large or small, it brought him great joy to be useful and needed.
Even as their children grew and began having families of their own, Jerry and Theresa continued camping as a form of family togetherness. They went camping for many years with their children and grandchildren where memorable times were shared. Jerry enjoyed hunting and bowling, and after 36 years of loyal and dedicated service to the Oldsmobile company, Jerry retired. He enjoyed spending more time with his family and friends, and was finally able to tinker around the house more. For thirteen years following his retirement, Jerry and Theresa wintered in the warmer climate of Florida where they made lasting friends. At the age of 72, he even took up golf, and was pretty good at it.
After an enjoyable Christmas holiday while in Florida, Jerry was taken to the local emergency room on December 26, 2009. While there, it was soon discovered that Jerry had advanced lung cancer. Upon his discharge, he and Theresa headed home to Michigan to be with their family. Jerry was touched and especially thankful for the many people that came to visit him, and to be by his side. Sadly, at the age of 74, Jerry died on Monday, January 25, 2010 surrounded by his loving family. He will be deeply missed.
Gerald L. “Jerry” Metzmaker is survived by his devoted wife, Theresa; their children: Sue (Ray) Poyer of Eaton Rapids, Ray Metzmaker of St. Johns, Tina Ward of St. Johns, Sandy Metzmaker of Mt. Pleasant and Brian (Jen) Metzmaker also of St. Johns; twelve grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; his brothers, Howard Metzmaker and Jack (Pat) Metzmaker; many, many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Raymond and Zella Metzmaker.
Funeral services for Jerry will be at 11:00 AM on Thursday, January 28, 2010 at the Osgood Funeral Home with burial following at Mt. Rest Cemetery. The family will receive friends Wednesday from 2-4 and 6-8 PM. Memorials may be made in Jerry’s memory to the charity of the donor’s choice. Please visit www.osgoodlifestorynet.com to leave a memory, submit a photo or to sign his online guest book.