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Life Story / Obituary
Jerry Ferus was a caring man who modeled a lifetime of hard work and sincere compassion for others. He was a loving and supportive father, devoted husband and a cherished friend to many. Very mechanical, he was gifted with the ability to fix nearly anything. Sadly, he was taken too soon and his kindness and friendship will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.
The 1950’s were known as the decade of the baby boomer and the modern American family. These were exciting times indeed with the many talents of professional baseball player Mickey Mantle, rock music icon Elvis Presley and movie heartthrob James Dean. Television was growing in its popularity and families joined together to catch the latest westerns such as Gunsmoke or sitcoms like I Love Lucy which in preschool years Jerry faithfully watched with his mother each weekday morning. Proud parents Gustav and Patricia (Poole) Ferus welcomed their son Jerry on January 19, 1953 in Benton Harbor, Michigan. As an only child he was their everything!
Spending his early years in Benton Harbor, his father worked as a typesetter and his mother as a nursery school teacher. By the age of eleven, the family relocated to Portage for Gus’ new job with Doubleday Brothers. Many of their relatives lived thousands of miles away in England, so the three were a close knit family. Growing up on Austin Lake allowed for many adventures. His charmed childhood summer days were spent water skiing and building a cabin on the then-undeveloped south end of Austin lake with his closest friends Lee, Dan, Randy, Rex, Clarence, Randy and Roger. In high school he was involved with varsity wrestling and auto shop at Portage Central.
After graduation, he continued on with his passion for mechanics and received his associate’s degree from KVCC. While working at Simmons Ford he met Terri who sixteen years later would become his wife. The two of them joined in marriage on June 25, 1994 at their home in the woods in Marcellus, Michigan. No two people were meant to be together more than he and Terri. They simply personified one another. The couple spent their first ten married years there before returning to Jerry’s childhood home on Austin Lake in Portage where their girls would begin school. Together they raised their beautiful twin daughters Molly and Hayley. As much as he loved being a provider and husband to Terri, he cherished his role as a father even more. Hayley and Molly were his pride and joy! Once reluctant to have kids, he was surprised at just how much love poured out for them both.
A hard worker, Jerry gained employment as a technician with Allen Test in Portage. Later, he went to work in Mattawan as a test technician at EPC before making his way to Whirlpool. Easy-going and a lover of all people, Jerry thoroughly enjoyed his job and coworkers.
For relaxation, Jerry enjoyed cruising the lake on his pontoon in the summer evenings and weekends. He also loved to take the speed boat out for a spin to pull his girls and their friends on tubes and waterskis. Sundays were especially a time to kick back with his beverage of choice, a gin and tonic, and let life’s worries fade away. For twenty years he spent his summer Thursday nights on the Area Companies golf league at Pineview with many of the friends he first knew from Allen Test. In addition to his love of anything on the water, Jerry was an animal lover. He grew up with a menagerie of pets. Their current longtime pets include cat Sophie, whom Jerry rescued from the barn in Marcellus and moved to a life of leisure on the lake, and their Rottweiler mix Daisy (aka Bill) whom he faithfully walked each morning before work.
A man of adventure, Jerry was a colorful storyteller. When he conveyed comical tales of his family and friends, he made you feel like you were there. He had memorable adventures of cross country RV road trips. Three of those times he ventured out with his close friends and the last time, two years ago, he took his family on the same journey. Jerry loved to relish in the memories of each of these trips and held his audience on the edge of their seats as he told how each trip unfolded. In the last ten years Jerry also enjoyed a few Caribbean cruises with his family. He never wanted to live his life without turning over every possible leaf and sought his contentment with days on the road or near the lake. A lover of northern Michigan’s beauty, he enjoyed annual summer trips to Bitely with his extended family and to the UP each January to visit friends Randy and Nancy. During Michigan’s cold winter months, he and the girls and Terri would set off to visit her parents in Florida. Having lost his parents at a relatively early age, he was very close to Terri’s family and claimed them as his own. Described as someone that everybody loved, friendly, and always positive, Jerry will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.
Gerald Ferus, age 64 of Portage passed away on March 28, 2017. Jerry was born on January 19, 1953 to Gustav and Patricia (Poole) Ferus. Visit with his family and friends and view his life story film on Thursday, March 30 from 4 – 7 pm at the Life Story Funeral Home, Portage; 5975 Lovers Lane. (344-5600). A funeral service will be held on Friday, March 31 at 11 am at the same location. Left to cherish his memory are his wife of 23 years, Terri; his daughters Molly and Hayley; mother and father-in-law Kathy and Mike Becker; brothers-in-law Jeff Becker and Michael (Denise) Becker; and niece and nephews Samantha, Ross, and Luke. Jerry was preceded in death by his parents. Please visit Jerry’s memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can archive a memory or photo and sign his guestbook online. Memorial donations may be made to West Michigan Cancer Center.