Losing Jerry is truly like losing a member of my own family. Jerry and I grew up together and were in 4-H together. We went to school together. He was like my big brother. Never one to worry about being popular or cool, Jerry taught me not to care what other kids thought of you, but just to be yourself. He was an usher at our wedding and, like the volunteer fireman and first responder he was, he saved the church by putting out the fire caused when candles burned down and ignited their wood holder.
Jerry and I spent countless hours on Lake Ripley, skiing, canoeing and fishing. We went bowling and golfing and going to Alpine Village Resort to visit the German owners, Otto and Elsie, for ice cream and a walk through their collection of cuckoo clocks and Black Forest wonders. We would steal beans from the Borchardt’s huge home garden and wave to each other mowing lawns from our yards two houses apart.
Jerry and I, and Eric Bakken, Jimmy Sherman, the Krull brothers and anyone else nearby played ball and threw Frisbees in the Borchardt back 40. We carefully navigated the swamp on a trail of ancient boards, playing army in the local Kettle Moraine depression known as the “Army Hole” where we discovered and claimed a treehouse left behind by an earlier generation of explorers. We’d go to Willerup Bible Camp and sneak around the fence onto the Community Beach.
We bonded over playing with cars and games at the Zerkle house or building forts and pretending to be the Beatles in the Borchardt basement. My mom and I still laugh about Jerry with a toy cop on a motorcycle, chasing me and my model car down the hallway as he shouted (with a previously unheard speech impediment), “Top, top, you must not go peeding!” When my mother said, “Jerry, what are you saying?” He replied, “Oh, I can’t say esses.”
In winter it was sledding and skating, playing hockey or later, driving to Devil’s Head to try skiing. We were interested in anything that rolled starting with racing downhill on roller skates, tricycles, bicycles and customized coaster wagons and graduating to anything with an engine. It’s a wonder there weren’t more broken bones.
We celebrated birthdays and holidays together. We went with the neighborhood Grandpa, Elmer Kelly, when he generously took all the neighborhood kids to the Dells in the summer. Every Christmas the whole neighborhood attended the Borchardt’s famous Christmas party where we sat on the knee of a cross-gender Santa who portrayed the Jolly Old Elf better than anyone of either sex ever had.
So many childhood memories include Jerry. I still remember the phone number that I dialed almost daily from our old party line telephone. I shall miss him more than I can say.
I’m sorry that we didn’t stay in closer touch over the years, but then we didn’t really have to. We had shared so much that we were never really very far apart. He was always in my heart and will live on in my memory.
God rest you, my old friend.
So sorry for your loss, I talked to you both quite often when you called Gordon Flesch. Thoughts and prayers to you all, from the pictures you packed a lot of life into your years together. Always enjoyed talking to you - take care
Sweet Patty, please know your good friends in Tennessee are lifting you and your up daily. I can't thank you guys enough for your friendship that grew stronger with every trip to Bristol. Your generosity to our church and your love for our youth ministry was beyond measure. We are heart broken for your loss but we know it's heavens gain! We love you much.
We have such love for the Borchardt family. So sorry to learn of Jerry’s passing so young. To Norma, to Diane & Tom & your sons, to Jerry’s wife, to your whole family our love to you all in this time of drawing closer to Jesus as you focus on when we see Jerry & Howard & so many other Christ followers. Grace & Peace to you all in Jesus Name! Erv & Joan
Pat, Norma and the rest of the family, so sorry to hear of your loss. Jerry was quite the man and I always enjoyed conversations with him when ever we met (usually at the bowling alley or at a car show). He will be greatly missed by many and I sure he made some life long memories with you all. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. May he rest in peace.
Ron and Kay Prochnow
We are so very sorry for your loss. We also, are very happy that you can have the peace of knowing where Jerry is.
May God bless you with his healing and the many wonderful memories of your loved one.
Jim and Jeanette Burhans