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Gerald A. Oelschlager, 72

Gerald Arthur “Jerry” Oelschlager, age 72, of Menahga, died Saturday, May 26, 2012, at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Park Rapids.

Jerry was born May 27, 1939, in Badoura Township, Hubbard County, the first of four children born to Gerhard and Marie (Bliss) Oelschlager.

At the age of 18, he graduated from the Akeley Public High School and ventured to Excelsior, where he gained employment.

It was there that he met and, Oct. 25, 1958, was united in marriage to Karen Hamlett. This union was blessed with a daughter, Sandra, in 1959.

The young couple moved to Bloomington, where Jerry worked at Powell’s Candy Company, and later at the Capp Towers in Minneapolis. In 1972, the Capp Towers, which had become a Holiday Inn, was heavily damaged in a fire. Jerry was promoted and transferred to the Holiday Inn headquarters in Memphis, TN, where he served as regional chief engineer, responsible for planning and implementing all of the remodelings and refurbishings of Holiday Inn facilities, which included everything – electrical, mechanical, furniture, carpeting, painting, and the exteriors of the Holiday Inn motels throughout the country.

In 1974, Jerry left Holiday Inn and moved with his family to Dassel, where he worked as a salesman for 19 years for several farm implement dealers, an auto dealer, and for Dassel Sports. For many years, Jerry was the top salesman at Mies Equipment, helping the company to grow to become one of the midwest’s largest farm equipment dealers. Due to being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, Jerry retired from Mies Equipment in 1995.

In the mid-1980s Gerald and Karen purchased a farm near Darwin, where Jerry raised beef cattle, hogs, and chickens. He also purchased a bar and restaurant in Dassel, which he remodeled around a German theme and named Gustav’s On Main, after his father. He later sold this business to his daughter, but helped her run it for nearly 20 years, until she sold it in 2005.

In 1995, Jerry and Karen took a once-in-a-lifetime trip, driving in their RV to Alaska. From 1995 through 2005, they spent their winters in Apache Junction, AZ.

Jerry will be long remembered for his love of fishing and hunting. He especially enjoyed his fishing trips along the English River in Canada. He also enjoyed fishing the local lakes, which he knew well. Each fall, he looked forward to spending time with his deer hunting gang, hunting south of Akeley. Each spring, he would look forward to planting a large vegetable garden, and taking pride in his abundant harvest. He loved working outside, whether it was in his garden or mowing his lawn.

Jerry also took up wood carving as a hobby after being taught the art by an 84-year-old neighbor in Arizona.

Jerry was a member of the Masonic Lodge, and a Shriner.

In 2011, he was diagnosed with a lung disease that would make it impossible to do anything without oxygen.

Jerry will be lovingly remembered by his wife, Karen, and daughter, Sandra, both of Menahga; his two brothers, Kenneth (Geri) of Minnetonka, and Roger of St. Paul; as well as his grandcat, Pawes.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and a brother, Lenny.

Memorial services took place Saturday, June 9 at 1 p.m. at Jones-Pearson Funeral Home in Park Rapids. Frank Lamb sang “In the Garden” and “Farewell Party.” There was visitation for one hour prior to the service.

Honorary casket bearers were Kenneth Oelschlager, Larry Oelschlager, Roger Oelschlager, Randy Oelschlager, Jon Hendricks, Ryan Oelschlager, Frank Lamb, Avery Billings, Deloris Lamb, Bill Arnold and Donna Voight.

To leave online condolences or view a video tribute, please visit www.jonespearson.com.