Gerald ‘Jerry’ Wessel, 79
Jan. 3, 1938 — Oct. 21, 2017
Gerald “Jerry” Wessel (Jan. 3, 1938 – Oct. 21, 2017) died after a short, but aggressive battle with Lymphoma. Jerry’s family held his hand every step of the way, just as he had done for them all their lives.
Jerry was born on Jan. 3, 1938, to Norma and Arnold Wessel in Grafton. Jerry was one of five children, Carol, Marion, Don and Judy Wessel. Jerry joined the Army reserves in 1960.
He met the love of his life and friend, Rose, on a visit “up North” in Merrill in 1963. He was visiting his cousin, who happened to be a friend of Rose’s. Jerry and Rose (nee Buschel) were married on June 19, 1965, and their journey continued for 52 years.
In 1958, Jerry began his career of several decades at Grafton Service. Jerry loved cars and his passion was reflected in the excellent service provided to the residents of Grafton for so many years.
Jerry was ahead of the curve as a Dad. He was an engaged Dad and many afternoons his children, Tricia and Jeff, would walk over to Grafton Service from Kennedy Elementary school and “help” their Dad until it was time to go home for dinner. Jerry enjoyed his family and there were many a Wessel parties in the garages of family members and neighborhood friends enjoying brats and beer. He spent every Tuesday with his brother, Don, playing golf at Hawthorne Hills, followed by dinner and a few beers at NoNo’s. They would come home to Jerry’s, sit at the bar in the basement and tell their golf stories to the kids. Jerry and Rose enjoyed many adventures with Rose’s sister and brother-in-law Pat and Bill Gatterman and friend Harvey Leiskau. Camping at the Dells, snowmobiling at the Newwood cabin and golfing at the “cottage.” Jerry was an amazing “Papa” to his grandchildren. Countless hours tinkering together in his workshop, crushing cans and playing with toys together. Papa spent many an afternoon shuttling his grandchildren home sick from school, to friends’ houses, to work and to the farm to ride.
Jerry loved NASCAR, golf, Tomaso’s pizza, country music, Fords, warm weather, beer, Tanqueray martinis, puzzles and most of all, his family. Jerry was a quiet man who enjoyed simple pleasures in life, but he was an amazing Dad, Papa and husband. Jerry gave of himself so much more than he took.
Jerry is survived by his wife and partner, Rose of Grafton; his two children Tricia (Ron) of Cedarburg and Jeff of Milwaukee. He is further survived by his grandchildren Jack, Alexandra and Arabella, his sister Carol and many family and friends.
The celebration of Jerry’s life will be held on Friday Nov. 17, 2017, at Pilgrim United Church of Christ at 1621 Second Ave. Grafton, WI. Visitation at 4 p.m, Service at 5 p.m. and dinner at the Church to follow. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Pilgrim United Church of Christ Mission Programs.