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Jerry W. Sheetz

June 26, 1942 - September 25, 2017

Jerry W. Sheetz was born to Elizabeth and Russell Sheetz in Davenport, Iowa, the second of three children; he is survived by his older brother James Sheetz and younger sister JoAnne Fisher.   He is also survived by his wife Barbara Sheetz and the children of his heart, Christina Ernst, Carla Craig and Clinton Berntgen; as well as 9 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.

Jerry attended a 1-room school in Probstei, Iowa.  One year he was the whole third grade.  He attended Davenport High School and lettered as the baseball manager.  After a year of college he joined the Navy to see the world.  He worked in communications with teletype and cryptography.  He spent a tour of duty in Spain and visited many European countries while there.  He had Shellback initiation from an equatorial crossing while on ship.   He and his prized Chevy traveled to Bremerton Washington on board an aircraft carrier where he was released from active duty.  He remained in reserve status until his unit, Security Group 222, was disbanded. 

In 1977, Jerry moved to Portland with his brother until he found a job in Salem.  He spent over 20 years in various computer programming positions.  His final position was with the Oregon Lottery until his retirement in 2012.  While at the Lottery he joined the Toastmasters and participated in many community events hosted by the Lottery.

After moving to Salem Jerry joined the Salem Noon Optimist Club.   He was the chairman for the first oratorical contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.  His other activities included the soapbox derby, Oktoberfest, the cookie cart at the Art Fair, the Swing Choir competition.  He served as club president in 1988 and was Lt. Governor for the Pacific Northwest District in 1989.  He managed the weekly bulletins for many years and received awards for the content.  Whenever asked, Jerry was willing to help.

Also after arriving in Salem in 1977-78, Jerry became a member of St. Mark Lutheran Church.  He served as an usher for many years.  Some of the family’s favorite memories are of Jerry’s enthusiastic singing at Christmas Eve candle light services.

In 1979, Jerry met Barbara Berntgen and after 33 years together they finally married in 2012. He was involved with raising Christina, Carla and Clinton.  He enjoyed nothing more than watching Clinton, and later his grandsons, play baseball at Holland Park.  For any sporting event, especially if a chance of rain, Jerry arrived sporting his “Gordon Fisherman” outfit of a bright yellow slicker.  Everyone knew who he was rooting for.

He will be greatly missed and we will honor his memory on October 13, at 6 p.m. at St. Mark Lutheran Church (790 Marion St. NE) in Salem.


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