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Gerald Elwood Giese, 98, died peacefully on January 23, 2024 at the WI Veteran's Home in Chippewa Falls, WI.
Jerry was born on May 14, 1925 on a farm near Norwalk, WI to John and Olga (Olson) Giese joining older brother, Eugene and soon a sister, Audrey. The depression led to a move to Greenwood, WI and Westby, WI where he graduated from high school in 1943. He immediately enlisted in the Army Air Corps serving during WWII until his discharge in 1945.
Jerry often said he was a lucky man and as luck would have it found his wife, Patricia Burke, at the VA office when he moved to Eau Claire. They were married June 18, 1949 in Boyd, WI. Married 65 years they filled their lives with eight lucky children. He attended the barber school at the Eau Claire Vocational School. He operated Jerry's Barber Shop on Birch St for 10 years eventually moving to UWEC where Jerry's University Barber Shop became the place to be for a great haircut, good game of cribbage and conversation for 25 years. After retirement the cribbage games continued with family and many good friends. Teaching his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren the game of cribbage and the pursuit of the quarter was his joy.
Jerry was a wonderful husband and father. As Dad said "we never had a lot of money but the house was filled with love, and we always had enough fish sticks to eat." He lived his faith showing us how to care for others, be kind and share time with family, friends and neighbors, always with that beautiful smile.
Traveling to Hawaii with Mom was a winter highlight for many years. He enjoyed yearly Canadian fishing trips and deer hunting with his sons which he finally gave up at age 96. Being at the lake with his family, swimming, fishing, and pontooning with always time for one more game of cribbage was his happy place. His hobby of carving wooden Santas and birds has left us all with wonderful keepsakes. He considered himself lucky that his son, Bill, finally bought a farm that he could enjoy in the last few years. He taught us all how to be good supporters of the Packers, Brewers and Badgers and how to make the perfect Old Fashioned.
He proudly moved to the WI Veteran's Home in Chippewa Falls, WI in 2019 almost immediately dealing with a yearlong period of COVID isolation which he managed by learning how to FaceTime and Zoom with frequent window visits from family. He continued to care for others sharing his smile, laughter and bringing the extra cup of coffee and being an advocate for all in his unit.
He was a charter member of Immaculate Conception parish where he sang in the choir.
He was a proud convert to Catholicism telling us with pride that he took his instructions in the faith with Ann Landers (true story). He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, Council #1257, for 64 yrs.
His smile was his trademark followed by his laugh, whistling, humming and his passion for his family and cribbage. We were the lucky ones to have him with us for 98 yrs.
Jerry is survived by his children, Barbara (Richard) Barrickman, Janet (Fred) Negus, Ann Giese (Skip LaDousa), Dennis (Ann Vandeberg), Peter (Sean Slusser), Paul (Michele), William (Mary Mitchell) and daughter-in-law, Ginger Giese; grandchildren, Michael Barrickman, Katie Taylor, Jessica (David) Hesson, Claire (Kort) Frank, Jack (Natalie) Negus, Carolyn (Aaron) Dammen, Rachel (Tim) Koplin, Laura (Scott) Giese, Amanda (Patrick) Giese, Nick (Andrew) Giese, Grace Giese, Lucas Giese, Jonah Giese, Eleanor Giese and Simon Giese; great grandchildren, Lauren and Connor Dammen, Devin and Andrew Barrickman, Calvin and Theo Taylor, Lainey, Scarlett and Chloe Frank, Sofie and Emily Koplin, Elodie and Lucie Negus, Beau and Asher Hesson and Hallie Jo Swan and many nieces and nephews and good friends.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Patricia; son, John; brother, Eugene; sister, Audrey (Jerry) Hetzel, sisters-in-law, Billie (Mac) McGivern and Ethel (Keith) Calkins; brothers-in-law, George (Dorothy) Burke and Jack (Frances) Burke.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 12:00 noon on Monday, March 11, 2024 at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 1712 Highland Avenue, in Eau Claire, with Father Francis Thadathil officiating. Visitation will be held two hours prior to the Mass on Monday at the church. Burial will take place at Forest Hill Cemetery in Eau Claire. Lenmark-Gomsrud-Linn Funeral & Cremation Services is serving his family. For online condolences, please visit www.lenmarkfh.com
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Hope Village-Helping Hands for the Unsheltered, 1825 Kennedy Road, c/o Mike Cohoon, Chippewa Falls, WI 54729 or Sojourner House-Eau Claire, 618 South Barstow St., Eau Claire, WI 54701 or the choice of the donor.
The family wishes to thank the staff and residents of the WI Veterans Home for their care and friendship over the last 4 years as well as the St. Joseph's Hospice caregivers.