Friday, September 23, 2011
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Center Point Church
2345 10th Street
Saturday, September 24, 2011
2:00 PM to 3:00 PM EDT
Center Point Church
2345 10th Street
Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of Jerry McNees, Jr. it is easy to see that his love for life was a central theme throughout his journey. He was vibrant and fun loving with a great sarcastic sense of humor that always made him so much fun to be around. Jerry loved Clint Eastwood flicks and a great country song among so many other things, yet nothing was ever nearer and dearer to his heart than the family he treasured. An accomplished athlete, Jerry liked both the adrenaline rush of fast cars as well as the peace and quiet that surrounded him when his fishing rod was his only companion. Taken from those he loved much too soon, Jerry will be deeply missed.
As the seventies dawned in America, the cultural fabric in our nation would never be the same. This decade introduced us to the home computer and the first video games while progressive rock brought us bands like Yes and Pink Floyd. With shows like the The Brady Bunch and All In The Family influencing our families each week, the way we viewed ourselves was forever changed. As this new decade began, it was a time of great anticipation for one young couple from Plainwell, Michigan, as they were looking forward to the birth of their first child. Their wait was over on April 21, 1970, when the baby they named Jerry Jr. made his arrival. Jerry was the oldest of three children born to his parents, Jerry and Joan (Thornell) McNees, and was raised alongside his brother, Denny, and his sister, Kitty.
In many ways Jerry experienced a childhood that was rather typical for the youth of his generation. He attended local schools including Martin High School where he played third base and pitched for the baseball team. Jerry was not only active in baseball, but he liked to bowl as well. He had several perfect 300 games and has had some 821 series, too. At the age of 15 he worked at Plainwell Bowling Alley where he earned his mechanic certificate from Brunswick.
After graduating from high school in 1988, Jerry started his own business as a carpenter, Jerry McNees Construction. Jerry had a close mentor and second father figure named, Marshall Cutler that helped him learn his trade. Jerry specialized as an interior trim carpenter and enjoyed his work a great deal. Through the years Jerry did a lot of work for Eastbrook Homes, a builder in and around the Grand Rapids area. He logged many hours in a typical work week and has even been described as a workaholic.
Although his work was a very important part of Jerry’s life, it was his loved ones who were most important to him. His life was forever changed when he met the woman with whom he would share the best years of his life. Her name was Stacie Lester and it was in 1997 that they met through mutual friends. A dating relationship ensued over the next few months and the couple found themselves deeply in love. With a desire to build a life together, the couple was married on Valentine’s Day in 1998. Jerry had a son from a previous relationship, Dustin, and together Jerry and Stacie were blessed with two additional children, Brady and Logan. As a father Jerry was actively involved in the lives of his children, and he loved spending time with them no matter what they were doing. He often took his children to the driving range to hit some balls where good times were had by all. With Brady’s birthday being so close to the Fourth of July, the McNees family usually took a memorable trip to Mackinac Island to celebrate. Jerry was also a great older brother who was always there for his younger siblings. He was even known to abuse his rank as the oldest a bit as he jokingly required his brother and sister to call him, “Mr. Wonderful.” Jerry’s nieces and nephews had a special place in his heart as well as he loved them as his own.
Throughout his life Jerry was a man of many interests. He was a golf enthusiast who traveled all over the country to play the game. Those who knew Jerry were well aware of his love for the NASCAR racing circuit. His passion came to life when he went to the Michigan International Speedway to celebrate his birthday in 2006 by participating in the Richard Petty Driving Experience. Jerry had the time of his life there experiencing the adrenaline rush while circling the track in his Tony Stewart car. When they lived on Pratt Lake he did quite a bit of fishing, and he was a huge Clint Eastwood fan. Jerry was part of a poker club with some of his buddies, and each year they saved their money for the pot earnings to take a trip to Las Vegas together once a year. When it came to music, Jerry loved Kid Rock, Johnny Cash, and most rock music, and he also collected both coins and baseball cards. His favorite food was crab legs, especially at his favorite restaurant - Red Lobster.
There were so many things that made Jerry unique and so easy to love. He was a Ford man through and through who would rather push a Ford than drive a Chevy as he firmly believed that if it says Chevy, it’s a piece of junk. Jerry had currently been getting around in his Ford F350 extended cab that he affectionately referred to as his limo. He was generous, easy going, and always willing to help those around him in ways great or small.
Through the life of Jerry McNees, Jr., we are reminded that each day is a gift to be cherished as we never know which breath might be our last. He lived life to the fullest every day while deeply loving those around him. Jerry enjoyed doing so many different things, but he loved being at home surrounded by the family he treasured more than anywhere else in the world. A devoted husband and father, loving son, brother, and uncle, and a loyal friend, Jerry will be deeply missed and warmly remembered.
Jerry G. McNees, Jr.of Plainwell died on Tuesday, September 20, 2011. Jerry’s family includes his wife, Stacie; three children: Dustin London, of Martin; Brady and Logan McNees, of Plainwell; siblings, Denny Sr. "Boom Boom" (Michelle) McNees, of Shelbyville and Kitty Smith, of Plainwell; and mother, Joan (Don) Gurtz, of Hopkins. He is also survived by several nieces and nephews, with one special great nephew, Bryson "Little B" Smith. Jerry was preceded in death by his father, Jerry McNees, Sr. The family will receive friends on Friday, September 23, 2011 from 4 to 7 PM at the Center Point Church, 2345 10th Street, Kalamazoo, MI. Funeral services will be held on Saturday at 2 PM at the same location. Please visit Jerry’s memory page at www.lifestorynet.com, where you can sign his memory book online or leave a favorite memory. Those that wish may make memorial contributions to the family.