Jerry Jay Stelling passed away peacefully on January 9, 2022, in Colorado Springs, CO. Jerry was a beloved husband, brother, uncle, and friend to all who met him. He was born on February 5, 1940, in Great Falls, Montana, to parents William and Charlotte Stelling. Jerry and his twin brother, Jack – the youngest of ten children – were raised on the family farm near Fort Shaw, Montana He served in the Army for three years and upon returning home from his service he graduated from the College of Great Falls with a degree in Education. While living in Great Falls, Montana, he met the love of his life Ruth Hanson, and they were married on August 6, 1967.
Jerry and Ruth then moved to Nebraska where they both taught at the local school for a few years. Then they moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan where Jerry got his Master of Library Science from Western Michigan University. After that settling in St. Joseph, Michigan where they lived until 2021. Jerry found much joy working most of his career as the Lakeshore High School Librarian and Media Specialist. In addition to his roles as librarian at Lakeshore High School, Jerry loved working with the Academic Challenge team, advisor for Student Council, and class advisor for several classes.
Jerry and Ruth were faithful members of Saron Lutheran Church in downtown St Joseph. After his retirement, Jerry was a founding member of the Golden Hammers which was a committee at Saron that help with the upkeep of the church. He was also very involved with the technology committee at Saron. Jerry was known as the person who made all feel welcomed at the church. Joan Olson, Saron’s current pastor, shared a story of Jerry stopping by regularly when she first came to the church with a hamburger and a smile to make her feel welcomed at the church.
One of the biggest delights of his retirement was building a cabin on Flathead Lake in Montana right next to his twin brother’s cabin. Jerry was involved in the process from designing it to watching the building process. But what brought him the most joy was filling the cabin with friends and family members where priceless memories were made by all. It was a place Jerry was able to take people on sunset boat rides, teach grand nephews and nieces to fish, and spoil everyone with peanut M&M’s.
Jerry is survived by his loving wife, Ruth, his brother, Cody (wife Maria), and his twin brother’s wife Ginny. Jerry is also survived by his loving sister-in-law Helen Perez. He was known as Uncle Jerry to generations of nieces and nephews and many students from all his years of teaching. Jerry was an eternal optimist and never met a stranger no matter where he was.
A private memorial service will be held for the family.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a memorial donation to Saron Lutheran Church 510 Main Street St Joseph, MI 49085.
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