Gerald A. Kuehl, 75
Jan. 21, 1940 -- April 10, 2015
Gerald Arthur Kuehl was born to eternal life on April 10, 2015. He had battled lung cancer for the last 19 months and died in his West Bend home, where he had lived the last 40 years. He was 75 years old.
Jerry was born to Agnes and Harold Kuehl in Wonewoc, on Jan. 21, 1940. He was the third of four children. The family would leave the farm life for the opportunities available in the big city when Jerry was 2. They continued to visit their cousins and other relatives in the Wonewoc area throughout the years. In Milwaukee, Jerry attended Rufus King High School. Like many young men of his time, he was drawn to the new rock ‘n’ roll music, and Elvis Presley in particular. During these years, he developed a lifelong love of carpentry. He took a semester off school to assist his father in building a home on North 67th Street near Capitol Drive. Jerry would become a first-rate handyman, able to do a wide-range of home repairs.
While attending Rufus King, Jerry met his future wife, Barbara Baldwin. Barbara had been out on a date with a friend of Jerry’s at the time. Soon after, Barbara and Jerry would begin a relationship that would last the rest of their lives. In anticipation of their marriage, Jerry converted to Lutheranism and took classes with his soon to be father-in-law, Patrick Baldwin. Barbara and Jerry were married on May 20, 1961. Jerry worked for American Motors during this time and also served in the Marine Corps Reserve.
The young couple’s married life would start on a sad note — Patrick Baldwin died on the day they returned from their honeymoon. Jerry bought a duplex that housed his in-laws on one side, ensuring their comfort after losing their primary source of support. Within a year after their wedding, Barbara and Jerry began to raise their own family with the birth of their first daughter. Jerry took a job with Carnation that would take the family to Iowa. By this time, they had three small children and the constant relocations demanded by the job were hard on the young family. They returned to Wisconsin, where Jerry took a job with Doerr Electric. They settled in Grafton before building their dream home in the country outside of West Bend. By this time, their brood had grown to five.
After Doerr closed, he worked along side Barbara at the dry cleaning store they owned in Grafton, Quality Dry Cleaners, until he retired. In retirement, Jerry was able to focus more on his hobbies, which included woodworking, bird watching and deer hunting. He designed cupboards for his kitchen and made furniture for his house. Jerry had been a deer hunter for many years. As his wife noted once, he seldom brought home deer from these trips. He primarily enjoyed the scenery of northern Wisconsin and the camaraderie of his fellow hunters, which included his brother, sons, brother-in-law and nephews. Jerry enjoyed cooking for crowds and would prepare meals ahead of time for hunting camp. Jerry also loved to cook for the holidays. Every Christmas, he would wake early to prepare a hearty brunch for his children and grandchildren. The Fourth of July was his favorite holiday. Every year, he would barbecue for his family and shoot off fireworks in the backyard.
Jerry was diagnosed with lung cancer in the late summer of 2013. He courageously fought against the disease. A few months into his treatment, Jerry suffered a huge loss when Barbara died unexpectedly due to a fall. They had been married 52 years.
Jerry was also preceded in death by his nephews, Bradley Brown and John Riemer; his brothers-in-law, Les Riemer and Duane Hermes; and his sister-inlaw, Pamela Peterson.
Jerry is survived by his daughter, Ann Thompson and son-in-law, Bruk, of West Bend; his son, Patrick Kuehl and daughter-in-law Susan of Sherwood; his daughter, Susan Kuehl of Sheboygan Falls, his son, Jeffrey Kuehl of West Bend, and his daughter, Kristin Kuehl of Brooklyn, New York. He is survived by all of his grandchildren: Gunnar Thompson, Tannar Thompson, Kelly Kuehl, Natalie Kuehl, Abby Kuehl and Bennett Horton. He is further survived by his sister, Virginia Hermes, his brother Eugene Kuehl and sister-in-law Judi Kuehl of Green Bay, and his sister Kathleen Riemer of Chowchilla, California. He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Patricia Brown and brother-in-law, Dr. Dwight Brown of Oconomowoc, and his sister-in-law, Paula Baldwin of West Bend. He has numerous nieces and nephews in Wisconsin and California.
The family will have a private memorial service in West Bend in May.
Special thanks to the staff at Heartland Hospice, the Pavillion at Glacier Valley and Kraemer Cancer Center at St. Joseph’s for the care they provided to Jerry during his illness.
The Phillip Funeral Home of West Bend is assisting the family: 262-338-2050 or online at www.phillipfuneralhome.com.