Jerold (Jerry) A. Kieffer (Kathleen Watry Kieffer) passed away peacefully on February 28, 2023, at the age of 86 years, surrounded by family in Gallatin, TN. His mother and father, Stella and Raymond Kieffer, his brother Charles Kieffer, and his sister Colleen Rott, preceded him in death. He is survived by his sister Donna (Chuck) Primozich of Norway, ME, and cousins living in Casselton, ND.
Jerry was the loving husband of Kathy of 63 years and a dedicated father to their children Kathleen Ann Carneal (Bernard) of TN, Lynne Marie De Salvo of IL, and Brian Jerold Kieffer (Natalie) of WI. He was the proud grandfather of Michael (Grace), Carolyn (Richard Varadan), David, and Jennifer De Salvo, and Ryan and Lauren Carneal. He was the great-grandfather of Augustina and Michael De Salvo, and Thérèse Varadan.
Jerry was born in Fargo, ND, and grew up on the family farm near Wheatland, ND. Jerry graduated from Shanley High School in Fargo, ND. After attending Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI, where Jerry met Kathy, he graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering. As an NROTC student, he was commissioned as an Ensign in the US Naval Reserve and completed his first year of active duty on the USS Pickaway; Jerry’s active duty took him to Pearl Harbor, Japan, and Hong Kong. Jerry and Kathy were married in 1959, starting their married life in San Diego where Jerry was assigned to the Recruit Training Command.
Upon completing his active-duty assignment, Jerry and Kathy returned to Milwaukee, where he joined a subsidiary of Rexnord, embarking on a career in sales engineering. This led to various sales and management assignments in IL, NJ, PA, and WI. After 26 years of service to Rexnord, Jerry worked in various marketing and sales management positions for Donohue & Associates and Badger Meter before retiring in 1999.
While living in the greater Milwaukee area, Jerry was very involved in parish activities at St. John Vianney Parish as Parish Council President, a Parish Trustee, and an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist. He was actively involved in a men’s faith-sharing group and attended annual retreats over 15 years at the Jesuit Retreat House in Oshkosh, WI. Jerry was also an avid fan of the Green Bay Packers and Marquette University basketball.
Following retirement, Jerry and Kathy moved to Arizona, where they resided for 13 years. During that time, they traveled to many European countries, as well as Canada and Mexico. Kathy and Jerry enjoyed road trips to the Midwest, National Parks, and Door County, WI. Jerry was actively involved in Junior Achievement, an investment club, a men’s scripture study group, and a photography club. He was a lifelong conservative and active in the Republican club. After their move to middle Tennessee, Jerry and Kathy became involved in Bible studies and the Senior group at Our Lady of the Lake Parish.
Jerry was a very intelligent and resilient man with a strong work ethic; he was a wonderful role model to all those who knew him. An avid reader, life-long learner, planner, advisor, and a steadfast friend, Jerry always enjoyed spending time with his family and friends, going to church activities, participating in exercise classes, playing bridge, and attending his grandchildren's events. Jerry and Kathy were also avid travelers; Jerry loved to research and create itineraries for their trips as well as take beautiful photographs of all their travels. At home, Jerry enjoyed spending many hours working outside in his yard over the years, meticulously maintaining the landscaping.
No matter what the endeavor, Jerry worked extremely hard. He was a wonderful example of drive, dedication, and commitment. Jerry was able to share these wonderful qualities with several young people, not only his relatives, but also the students he mentored in the Tucson Junior Achievement Program. Jerry said this was one of his most rewarding volunteer experiences. Jerry had a strong faith in our Lord and always started and ended his day with daily scriptures, reflections, and prayers. He was a kind and thoughtful man, always looking out for those in need and thanking those people who helped him on life’s journey. If you knew Jerry at all, you probably heard him proclaim that his mission in life was to take care of his dear wife, Kathy. And he did this with great love and joy!
Visitation and a Funeral Mass will be held at Our Lady of the Lake Church in Hendersonville, TN, 1729 Stop 30 Road Hendersonville, TN 37075, on Monday, March 27, 2023. Visitation will be from 11 am to Noon, with a Funeral Mass commencing at Noon; a reception will follow in the church hall. A committal service will be held in Milwaukee, WI, at a future date to be determined.
In lieu of flowers, a Mass for the repose of Jerry’s soul or a donation (Little Sisters of the Poor or Food for the Poor) would be appreciated. Eternal Rest grant unto Jerry, O Lord, and let Perpetual Light shine upon him.