Gerald Chester Gilmer, age 66, of Dassel, died Thursday, April 10, 2014, at the St. Cloud Hospital.
He was born Jan. 9, 1948, in Litchfield, the fifth son born to Wesley and Ida Gilmer of Dassel.
In high school, Gerald enjoyed band, playing the trumpet and bugle as his primary instruments.
Gerry helped start the very first Dassel golf team, and played on it. He was a pretty good golfer with his lefty swing.
Besides family, music was perhaps his greatest love. He had favorite songs from every type of music; rock and roll, gospel, classical, country; he liked something from all.
Gerry attended the University of Minnesota, and remained a lifelong Gopher fan. Finishing his degree was diverted by a family emergency need, a call he did not hesitate to answer. He never wished to return to college, but instead, found that his calling was to care for others in his family and in his village for the rest of his life.
Gerald supplemented that caregiving with delivering the news of the world to the doorstep of his town for decades; faithfully in rain, snow, heat, cold, and always on time, the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper.
He never stopped caregiving; even after his death, he donated tissue and organs to give health and life to others.
Gerald never married, but had 14 nieces and nephews who he considered his children; Jeffrey (Mary), Carrie (Phillip), Jonathan (Diane), David (Pam), Victoria, Gregory, James (Janet), Jennifer (Kurt), Marcienne, Leah (Marc), Barbara (Peter), Erik (Summer), Jenna (Trent), and Malia (Peter). He also had 27 great nieces and nephews with another on the way, and one great-great nephew. Gerald was a deeply loving and fun uncle, and is deeply loved in return.
He was preceded in death by a brother, John; his parents, Wesley Gilmer and Ida Eddy Gilmer; former sister-in-law Ardyce Greenley Gilmer; beloved grandmother Christena Gilmer; and many other family members he deeply missed and longed to see again.
He is survived by three brothers, Norman (Judith), Roger (Katee), and Don (MaryBeth); sister-in-law Gloria Gilmer; nieces; nephews; and cousins, especially Polly Eddy O’Brien, Betty Eddy Koenig, and John Paul Eddy.
Gerry kept up with everyone in the family and enjoyed still communicating by card or letter. He was also keenly interested in family ancestry and history.
Entering sweepstakes and drawings was Gerry’s favorite hobby. In addition to numerous other prizes, he won two cars over the years, and also a trip with his brothers to the Daytona 500, where they met and had lunch with Richard Petty.
Gerry loved gardening, and had even grown a lemon and an orange tree from seed that produced fruit in his Minnesota living room. He was a committed environmentalist decades before it was popular or faddish. He was very gentle and kind, and described himself as a “Christian without the dogma” kind of a human being.
Gerry also enjoyed sports; football and the Vikings were his favorite. He loved the Minnesota Twins, and enjoyed basketball, too, but his favorite basketball game was in the driveway, playing with nieces, nephews, and his brothers.
A funeral service took place Wednesday, April 16 at 2 p.m. at the Johnson Funeral Home in Dassel, followed by interment at the Howard Lake Cemetery.
There was visitation one hour prior to the service at the funeral home.
Memorials are suggested to the Dassel History Center, St. Cloud Hospital Surgical Center, and any environmental preservation organization, or to the donor’s choice.