HAYWARD, Wis. — Jerry G. Smith, 82, of Hayward passed away Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, at Hayward Area Memorial Hospital.
Jerry Gordon Smith was born June 14, 1937, in Dunn County, Wis., the son of Robert and Delora (Knutson) Smith. He was raised on his parent’s farm in Dunn County and attended school in Menomonie. After graduating from high school in Menomonie, he joined the U.S. Navy June 5, 1956, and did boot-camp training at Great Lakes, Ill., where he received a medal of Good Conduct. He was sent to China Lake, Calif., and eventually San Diego. On Aug. 25, 1956, he was joined in marriage to Lois K. O’Flanagan. Jerry and Lois were blessed with Russ and Karen, while living in Government housing. Jerry was honorably discharged June 3, 1960. Towards the end of his military service, Jerry worked part time for the JC Penney Co., in National City, where Jerry got his retail career start. JC Penney was instrumental in helping Jerry find a job in the Penney Co., in Wisconsin, and he and Lois moved to Racine, Wis., in 1960. Jerry began the three-year training program, eventually moving up to JCPenney department manager, then store manager. He was then promoted to operations manager, where he would move to new communities every couple years and help in overseeing the construction and initial operation of a new JCPenney store. His work led him to Milwaukee, Manitowoc, Des Moines, Iowa, Rock Falls, Ill., and Menomonie. Jerry and Lois then purchased a SKOGMO franchise and opened a store that would later become Smith Apparel, from 1974-84. After closing Smith Apparel, Jerry managed PAMIDA in Menomonie and Sun Prairie, before becoming a licensed real estate agent and purchased his popular “cabin on the lake” in Cedar Falls, for several years. He moved to Hayward, where he continued work as an agent until the age of 76. Jerry enjoyed hunting, golfing, family gatherings, especially the Knutson Family Reunion, and was an avid Green Bay Packers fan. He was a member of the Hayward United Methodist Church.
Jerry is survived by his three children, Russell (Jennifer) Smith of Hayward, Gregory (Amy) Smith of Milaca, Minn., Karen Byrd of Kadoka, S.D.; 10 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; two brothers, Billy (Barb) Smith of Madison, Wis., Randy Smith of Lead, S.D.; one sister, MaryAnne (Keith) Jenson of Barron, Wis.; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
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A celebration of Jerry’s life will be held at noon Saturday, Feb. 1, at the United Methodist Church in Hayward, with Pastor Cathy Hamblin officiating. A time of gathering will be held one hour prior to the service at the church. Interment will be in the Northern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Spooner, Wis., at a later date and time this summer.
Online condolences may be left at www.bratley-nelsonchapels.com.