Gerald W. Elward,
Gerald W. “Jerry” “Whitey” “L” Elward of the town of Jackson died on
Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, at The Kathy Hospice at the age of 79 years. He
was born on July 22, 1934, in Milwaukee to the late George P. and
Madeline (nee Evanovich) Elward.
He grew up on the near north side of the city of Milwaukee and on his
aunt’s and uncle’s farm in Maplewood. He attended Siefert School,
William McKinley and West Division High School, where he graduated in
1953. He then attended various business colleges in Milwaukee and West
Bend, majoring in accounting. He also attended night school where he
attained certificates in purchasing, inventory control and industrial
blue print drawing. He has taken classes in sign language, computer
science, creative writing, creative painting, behavior management and
Jerry served his country overseas with the U.S. Army as chief radar
operator, spending time in Japan and Korea. He had a long love and
interest in music, and over the years played the clarinet, alto
saxophone, bass clarinet, alto clarinet and ventured with the piano. He
also had a deep love for most animals, especially his own dogs and cats
over the years.
On Sept. 6, 1958, he was united in marriage to his best friend Jo Anna
(nee Ramage) in Milwaukee.
Jerry wanted to be remembered as a husband, father, conservationist and
man of the arts. He had many interests, and was involved in many
He will be remembered for his intelligence, warmth, quick wit, sense of
humor and complaisance toward others. Jerry will be deeply missed by all
who knew and loved him.
Since his retirement in 1996 from The Threshold Inc. (a vocational
training and personal adjustment center for physically and
developmentally disabled people of Washington County) where he was
employed as a training instruction for 16 years, he has added to his
collection of music and musical instruments. Jerry has also written 13
novels, a dozen novellas and many poems.
At the time of his death, he was the president of the Silent Singers
Inc., a deaf awareness organization that performs in sign language (the
beautiful language of the deaf) to music. He was a charter member and
past president of the River City Irregulars, West Bend’s marching and
concert band, of which he was still a member. He was a charter member of
the River City Blaskapelle, a German band, which is a splinter group of
the River City Irregulars, in West Bend, of which he was still a member.
He was past executive director of the West Bend Patriots Drum and Bugle
Corps, was drum major of the 37th AAA Army Drum and Bugle Corps located
in Fukuoka, Japan, was a member of the Beige Hat Club, a fun club for
men in West Bend, a past member of the Glacier Hills Artist League of
West Bend, a past member of the Hartford Sketch and Paint Club, a member
of the Washington County Writer Club, and a past member of Waukesha
He also was a chairperson on the committee for his high school 50th
class reunion party, a co-chairperson of Threshold Alumni Group of West
Bend, cochairperson of West Division High School Class of ’53 luncheon
committee and was on the executive committee of West Division High
School alumni association committee.
Survivors include his beloved wife and best friend Jo Anna; their
children Garett of the town of Jackson and De Ann (Jerry) Mathson of
Kewaskum; grandchildren Elsa, Julie (Ben) Michaels and Jennifer (Aaron)
Fechter; greatgrandchildren Avery, Lydia, and Jax Michaels; sisters
Kathleen Ringsage of Washougal, Wash., and Sue Elward of Portland, Ore.;
nieces, nephews, other relatives, and many friends and acquaintances.
At Jerry’s request, no services will be held. In lieu of flowers, those
that wish may give memorials in memory of Jerry to the Silent Singers,
c/o Linda Hillebrant, 641 Whitegate Drive, Saukville, WI 53060.
The Schmidt Funeral Home of West Bend is serving the family.
Online guestbook and condolences available at