Gerald "Jerry" Arthur Roepke
Gerald "Jerry" Arthur Roepke, age 85, of Park Rapids, Minnesota died on Thursday, February 1, 2018 at Fargo Essentia Health surrounded by his beloved family.
Jerry was born in Hubbard, Minnesota on January 23, 1933 to Ernest and Nellie (Hildebrand) Roepke. He was the youngest of 11 children. He attended school at the Hubbard Schoolhouse and went on to graduate at Park Rapids High School in 1950. Jerry joined the Army National Guard on October 23, 1949 and was discharged on July 22, 1953. He served Active Duty in Korea from January 1951 to September 1952. On January 5, 1954, Jerry joined the United States Air Force making the military his career and achieving the rank of Chief Master Sergeant E9. Jerry served in many capacities during these years while being stationed in Japan; Lincoln, NE; St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN; Duluth, MN; Fargo, ND; a tour of duty in Viet Nam; and back to Duluth, MN. He retired on November 1, 1976 with a total time of 26 years, 6 months, and 26 days. Jerry married the love of his life, Bernice V. Crandall, on July 21, 1956 in Robbinsdale, Minnesota. They were blessed with two children- Pamela Bea Roepke and Gerald "Jay" Arthur Roepke II. Their committed union lasted 61 1/2 years. Jerry started a new career as a Rural Carrier (Route 1) for the United States Postal Service in Park Rapids. He began in 1981 and retired in July 1997 for a total of 16 years. Jerry was also active in the community. He was a lifetime member of the American Legion Post 212 serving as Commander for two terms and as an interim Chaplain. Another lifetime membership was with the 40et8 group, where he performed duties as Chef de Gare and as Chaplain. Jerry was an active member of St. John's Missouri Synod Lutheran Church in Park Rapids. He faithfully performed his duties as an Elder and Usher. Jerry was an avid outdoorsman with a passion for preserving and respecting nature. He shared his love of the outdoors with all he encountered through stories and role modeling. He enjoyed fishing, hunting, gardening, and simply sitting out in the woods with a peanut butter sandwich to enjoy the solitude. His family was his ultimate priority as he guided them through life, taking care of their every need, and spending days preparing for family gatherings.
He was their caretaker and guardian placing them above himself.Jerry was preceded in death by his parents; his siblings - Kenneth, Doris, Alta, Alice, Wilma, Edith, Louis, Janet, and Virginia.He is survived by his wife, Bea; his daughter, Pam (Val McKee) Roepke; his son, Jay (Nicole) Roepke; his grandchildren- Heather (Nate) Avenson; Ashley (Jake) Hensel; Holly (Dan) Fletcher; and Dakota Larson; his great grandchildren- Jalen Hensel, Eleanor Hensel, Alayna Hensel, Edie Hensel, Auten Avenson, and Oliver Avenson; his brother, Ernest Roepke and numerous nieces, nephews, and extended family/friends. Funeral services will be held 11 AM Thursday, February 8, 2018 at St. Johns Lutheran Church in Park Rapids with the Rev. James Neubauer officiating. Sarah Kaufenberg will be the organist. Michael Poole will sing, "The Lord's Prayer". The Otto Hendrickson American Legion Post #212 of Park Rapids will provide full military honors. Interment will be made in the Greenwood Cemetery. The church family will host a luncheon following the service. Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 PM Wednesday, Feb. 7th at the Jones-Pearson Funeral Home and will continue on Thursday beginning one hour prior to the service at the church. To leave online condolences or to view the video tribute please visit www.jonespearson.com