Sunday, February 25, 2018
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM EST
Life Story Funeral Homes - Rupert, Durham, Marshall & Gren
409 South Main Street
Vicksburg, MI 49097
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Vicksburg Historical Society
P.O. box 103
Vicksburg, MI 49097
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
All who knew Jerry Kott would agree that there was no one quite like him. He had a great sense of humor that he was known for telling the best stories that usually ended up being a joke in the end. Jerry was a lifelong resident of the community he loved, and with his contagious zest for life he was the heartbeat of wherever he went. A devoted family man, he was blessed to share the majority of his life with his true love, and together they witnessed their family grow to include the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren he adored. Life will never be the same without Jerry here, but he leaves behind a timeless legacy that his loved ones will proudly carry on in his footsteps.
The 1930s were primarily defined by the hardship Great Depression as it covered our nation and much of the world throughout the entire decade. Although times were difficult, cities, communities, and families came together to weather the storm in whatever way they could. Despite the trials around them, Harlow and Grace (McNally) Kott were able to focus on an exciting time in their own lives as they were eagerly awaiting the birth of their new baby as November dawned in Vicksburg, Michigan, in 1935. Their wait was finally over on November 8th when the baby boy they named Gerald M. drew his first breath. He was the older of two in his family as he was raised alongside his younger brother, Jim. Jerry’s father worked as a custodian at Vicksburg Schools and was also a county commissioner while his mother was a secretary for the Kalamazoo County clerk.
In many ways, Jerry was a young boy of his generation. He was very active, and while in school he did it all as he was on the basketball, baseball, football, and bowling teams. In addition, he was active in student council, drama, Spanish club, varsity club, and follies, and he also played tuba in the band. While growing up Jerry was active in the Boy Scouts, and he even achieved the highest and most prestigious rank of Eagle Scout. He graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1954. From there Jerry went on to Western Michigan University.
Not to be forgotten during Jerry’s years in high school was his introduction to the woman of his dreams. Her name was Carol Miller, and they met while in high school. She had transferred from Kalamazoo schools, and when Jerry saw her he said, “I’m going to marry that girl!” They began dating a short time later, and they soon fell deeply in love. With a desire to establish a life together Jerry and Carol were married at a church in Vicksburg in 1956. Together they welcomed two children, Diana and Ann, into their hearts and home.
Throughout his working days Jerry had a very fulfilling career. While in school he was working at a gas station in Milwood. Life took an interesting turn when he was pumping gas one day and was approached by a man who owned an insurance company and told him he would be a great insurance salesman. That was all it took. Jerry changed his major and received his insurance agent license. With hard work, he also went on to get his certified life insurance underwriter’s license, which isn’t a license that is easy to get. Jerry was very successful in his career, and after many years he became vice president of Burnham and Flower Insurance Agency. Retirement took time for Jerry as he just slowly cut back his hours over several years.
As his family and friends can attest, Jerry was always busy doing something and was a man of many interests. He and Carol traveled extensively over the years, although some of their best family memories were made at their home on Indian Lake. Fourth of July was always Jerry’s favorite because it gave him the excuse to light off firecrackers. The “boomer” was always his favorite. Within his community he was in the rotary, even serving as president for a time, and he was also in the Show Boat. An avid outdoorsman, Jerry loved both hunting and fishing. Every year he looked forward to deer camp that was at a cabin in the U.P. that he owned with two friends. Jerry also went to fish camp. He passed his love of fishing on to his two daughters, and as they married and had families of their own Jerry took his sons-in-law and his grandson hunting and fishing. He loved all of Carol’s cooking and ate well, but his favorite meal was venison.
Someone who lived life to the fullest, Jerry was truly one of a kind. He was a jokester with a great sense of humor and a fun-loving personality. Jerry had the amazing ability to get others to believe any story he told, and then in the end he almost always told them it was a joke. He led a colorful life and was known for burning the candle at both ends. According to those who knew Jerry he was super frugal since his nickname was “Kottski” because he was so tight with money. Back when CB radios were popular his handle was “checkbook.”
With a life that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, Jerry Kott was an extraordinary man to know and love. He worked hard, but he took the time to enjoy life along the way, too. Jerry was deeply devoted to his family, and he treasured every moment he spent with his loved ones. Dearly loved, he will be forever missed.
Jerry M. Kott, of Vicksburg, passed away on February 19, 2018, at Borgess Hospital. Jerry is survived by his two daughters: Diana (Hal) Blanchard and Ann (Rick) Hughey; four grandchildren: Erin Courtney, Tiffany (Andre’) Bouvrette, Allen (Dannette) Hughey and Kati (Matthew) Roberts; six great grandchildren: Rylie, Kamie, Lincoln, Kendall, Marshall; baby Delilah born on 2/21/18; brother, James Kott. Jerry was preceded in death by his parents and his loving wife of 50 years, Carol. Visit with his family and friends and view his life story film on Sunday, February 25 from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. at the Life Story Funeral Home, Vicksburg; 409 S. Main St. (269 649-1697). A funeral service will be held on Monday, February 26 at 11:00 a.m. at the same location. Please visit Jerry’s memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can archive a memory or photo and sign his memory book online. Memorial donations can be made to the Vicksburg Historical Society.