Gerald L. Gehling

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Gerald “Jerry” (Spike) L. Gehling, age 91, of Suring, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018, with his family by his side. Jerry was born in Oconto Falls to the late Robert and Mildred (Monson) Gehling on April 19, 1926, the youngest of three children. He was married to Margaret Rierdon on Dec. 25, 1947, and together they had three children. Margaret preceded him in death on June 11, 1986.

Jerry attended school in Clintonville, Frostville and Suring, as well as Lincoln Aeronautical Institute in Lincoln, Nebraska. He spent the majority of his life in Suring working at the Farmer’s Mercantile, Red Owl and was the owner and operator of Gehling Auto Body and Towing, a business he ran in conjunction with his father, Bob’s “Papa Bob’s,” gas station.

He wore many hats in Suring and Oconto County. Jerry was the Village Marshall for 12 years, president of the school board for 15 years, served on the Suring State Bank Board of Directors, was a member of the Suring Volunteer Fire Department and charter member of the Suring Sportsman Club. During his time on the school board, he and fellow members were able to accomplish two major projects: a new school gymnasium and a new football field and track. Jerry liked to tell the story of meeting Kenneth Paulson, president of the Suring State Bank, on the street one day. He shared with him his plan for the athletic field on land the bank owned. Kenny sold him the land for $1 and years later gave him the dollar back.

In 1974, Jerry was elected Sheriff of Oconto County and served six two-year terms, retiring in 1986. During this time, he also worked with the U.S. Forest Service to establish a law enforcement program for Nicolet National Parks.

In 1992, he was elected to the Oconto County Board of Supervisors and represented District 26 for 20 years, retiring in 2012. Jerry was a member of the Suring Lions Club, who greatly helped him by providing equipment he needed to stay in his home until very recently. He was also a longtime member of the Masons and the Shriners.

Jerry was a hard-working guy who enjoyed contributing to the community he loved. He was quite the character and had a great sense of humor. Jerry lived his life to the fullest and will be greatly missed.

He is survived by his three children, Pamela (Erik) Sammons of Bend, Oregon, Barbara (Michael) Foley of Waunakee and Austin, Texas, and Jim Gehling of Dallas, Texas; eight grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; special friend, Lois Brazeau; three sisters-in-law, Mavis Gehling, Darlene Rierdon and Mary Ellen Streit. He is further survived by many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Jerry was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Margaret; brother, Curt Gehling; sister, Judy Christiansen; two brothers-in-law, Rollyn Rierdon and Ed Streit.

Visitation will be held at Gruetzmacher Funeral Home in Suring on Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, from 4 to 7 p.m. Visitation continues on Saturday at the Suring United Methodist Church from 10 until 10:45 a.m. The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. with Pastor Rick Haberland officiating. Online condolences can be expressed at www.gruetzmacherfuneralhome.com.

Special thanks to so many friends and helpers over the years, and to his health care team led by Christine Berndt (NP) and Sharla Parker (CNA), Dad’s angels here on earth.

Memorials are appreciated to the Suring Lions Club in Jerry’s name.