Jerry Newell Johnson, 70, of Marshalltown, IA passed away peacefully in his home on Friday, July 17, 2020. He was surrounded by his loving family and in the care of the Iowa River Hospice. Following cremation, private, family graveside services will be held at the Rose Hill Memorial Gardens. The graveside services will be live-streamed on Anderson Funeral Homes Facebook page at 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, July 22, 2020. Memorial gifts in Jerry's honor may be directed to the Iowa PGA Junior Golf Foundation, c/o PGA, Iowa Section, 3184 Hwy 22 Riverside, Riverside, IA 52327 or the William R. Bliss Cancer Center, c/o Mary Greeley Medical Center, 1111 Duff Ave., Ames, IA 50010. Anderson Funeral Homes in Marshalltown has been entrusted with the arrangements. Online condolences may be sent to www.andersonfhs.com.
Jerry was born on November 26, 1949 in Ames, IA to parents Edmund and Janette (Martin) Johnson.
Jerry was a 1968 graduate of Marshalltown High School, lettering in football, basketball, baseball and golf. He went on to play collegiate golf at Eastern New Mexico University and the University of Iowa, where he earned his degree in Business Administration in 1972. Jerry was employed by the Commercial State Bank in Marshalltown from 1972-1976.
On May 19, 1973 Jerry was united in marriage to Debra Kay Sieleman at the Holy Family Catholic Church in Mason City, Iowa. To that union were born two daughters, Kate (1978) and Erin (1983).
In 1976 Jerry switched careers and entered the golf business, becoming a PGA apprentice under Keith Hannan at Mason City Country Club. From 1980-1985 he was the Head PGA Professional at Lake Bracken Country Club in Galesburg, IL. When Joe August retired as golf professional of Marshalltown's Elmwood Country Club in the fall of 1985, Jerry was hired to take over the reins. He enjoyed working at Elmwood C.C. for 29 years before retiring on December 31, 2014, achieving "Life Membership" status in the PGA of America.
Jerry's love of competition fostered years of participating in amateur and professional tournaments. Two highlights include playing in the Quad Cities Open twice and the National PGA Club Professional Championship four times.
The Iowa Golf Association named Jerry Golf Professional of the Year in 1990. That same year he was named Iowa PGA Merchandiser of the Year. Jerry held the office of President of the Iowa PGA from 1991-1993 and was chosen by his peers in 1992 as the Iowa Section PGA Professional of the Year. In 2016 he received the IPGA Horton Smith Award. Even after his retirement, Jerry remained active in his involvement with the Iowa Section PGA serving on numerous committees.
Perhaps Jerry will be remembered most for his passion in promoting the game of golf to the Marshalltown community. Be it a listening ear while golfers recounted their rounds to him, spending many hours giving lessons on the practice tee, administering golf events, teaching area high school golf teams and P.E. classes in proper swing execution and golf etiquette, and helping to implement the Swings with Kids program in Marshalltown schools, he wanted to share his love of the game and impart its many life lessons. Jerry was a man most generous of his time with family, friends and acquaintances.
One of Jerry's great joys in life was being a dad and grandpa. His retirement years afforded him the opportunity to spend time with his grandsons, cheering them on from the bleachers and fairways.
Left to cherish his memory are his wife, Debra Johnson, Marshalltown, IA; daughters, Kate (Dan) Davis, Urbandale, IA and Erin Johnson, Des Moines, IA; grandsons, Daniel and Jude Davis, Urbandale, IA; brothers, Richard (Joyce) Johnson, Fairport, NY and Bruce (Lisa) Johnson, Ankeny, IA; sister, Laura (Steve) Hanish, Tonka Bay, MN; brother-in-law, Michael Sieleman, Groton, CT; sister-in-law, Catherine Sieleman, Carlsbad, CA along with many nieces and nephews.
Jerry was preceded in death by his parents and brother-in-law, James Sieleman.
Jerry's family wishes to acknowledge Dr. Joseph Merchant and the oncology department of McFarland Clinic in Ames and Marshalltown for their excellent care for the past 17 years; Fr. Tom Braak, retired Catholic priest, friend, fellow golfer and spiritual advisor; the Iowa River Hospice for their end of life care and of course Jerry's many friends and family who reached out to him in love and support.
Jerry and I first met when we were paired together at the NAIA National Golf Tournament in 1970, two Iowa guys playing for out of state schools in a national event. Hit it off right away, but how could you not with Jerry. Rest in peace my friend.
Jerry has been a friend who taught golf to our boys and myself and was always a congenial and trusted host when we returned to Marshalltown for visits nearly every year. He helped make our trips to Elmwood easy and fun. Jerry also went out of his way to facilitate our group of MHS '62 golfers
several times, making our trips to Marshalltown wonderful reunions. Jerry was a gentleman. Our condolences to Deb and family. Sincerely, John Reibsamen
Jerry was a person who made everyone feel better whenever they saw him; he had such a kind and gentle soul toward anyone he came across.
I feel very fortunate to have known him. He’ll be missed.
Julie and my thoughts and prayers are with the Johnson family. When I first got into the PGA, Jerry was a man that I looked up to, the type of Professional I wanted to be some day. His smile, his love of the game, love of people were all infectious. I always admired his everyday optimism and cheerfulness, people loved being around Jerry. I am grateful to have spent time with this man and will always cherish the relationship we had. He helped me and others in so many ways.
Jerry will be missed, but whenever I think of him, I will always smile.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Johnson family. Jerry and Deb have always made time in their busy days to talk with me about golf and Elmwood happenings. He will be greatly missed. Warren and Jan Wolken
I will always cherish Jerry’s optimism and wonderful smile. He was a legend and athletic inspiration at MHS when I was a child. He and Deb put on great events at the club and extended wonderful hospitality to all of us visitors. He will be missed and always fondly remembered. David watt
The world of golf helped me get to know Jerry Johnson. He worked for the PGA Professional who gave me my first formal lesson -- Keith Hannan of Mason City. I figured I made a good decision on a coach, because Jerry was working for him.
Jerry became more than a colleague in the industry as we crossed paths once or twice a year. He was a friend who cared about you whether you lived across the country or in his neighborhood. Jerry, who I thought resembled actor Doug McClure, married Debbie, who I remember as one of the beautiful upperclassmen in my high school, Mason City Newman.
Jerry and Debbie made the best couple. They would sometimes go out of their way to say "hi," whenever the game of golf and the PGA took us through the years. When I began working for the PGA of America in 1992, I discovered first-hand what it means to be a PGA Member. It boiled down to how nearly 29,000 professionals today strive to emulate Jerry Johnson.
Jerry was the living definition of humanity. He didn't punch a time clock, and kept working to help others, teach those who wanted to learn the game of golf...and he left an impact.
I never knew that Jerry was suffering for years, because he wouldn't complain about his trials when we met and those who did know never mentioned it to me. I believe his inner courage and attitude about seizing the best of each day shielded him from what he must have been feeling inside.
I send prayers to Debbie and the extended Johnson family. I was blessed to be among Jerry's many friends in life, and I will always hold wonderful memories of him close to my heart.
Whenever things are not going my way, when I feel pain or think that I am getting the raw end of a deal, I will pause, take a deep breath and think of Jerry. He was a man who handled storms in life like they were passing breezes. If you think that you know what it means to be good to one another, think of Jerry. He lived it.
Jerry was one of the nicest persons I ever met. Jerry was a senior at MHS in the fall of 1967. I enjoyed Jerry and his teammates on the Bobcat basketball team. I also had the pleasure of having Jerry's sister Laurie in my math class. When I would run into Jerry we would always have a nice conversation. Jerry will be missed but his legacy will last a long a long time.
So sorry to hear of Jerry passing. I truly believe there there has never been a nicer or kinder man man on earth. I don’t think he ever had a negative word to say about anyone and his smile was absolutely infectious! Love to the Deb and the family.
Debra &family Jerry was one of the nicest men I have ever known. He was what a golf professional should be. I nominated jerry for the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame. He will
be missed. Stay strong God Bless
So sorry to hear of Jerry's death. Mike Casey had been updating me on Jerry's illness. Jerry was a great friend of Iowa golf and will be missed by many of us. My condolences to the family.
Johnson Family: i knew Jerry through golf and he was one of the nicest guys I have known. May your " faith" provide you with both Peace and Comfort during this difficult time. Our Deepest Sympathy and God Bless You.
Gary & Jan Thompson
Jerry was an amazing man. Passionate, kind hearted, and do positive. Our families are grateful to have known him and taken lessons from him for many years.
Deb and family, I am so saddened after hearing the news about Jerry this morning from my sister Deb and my heart goes out to all of you so much! Heaven has gained a wonderful man! He was always so kind to us growing up as was his entire family! We have many fond memories of all of them as our neighbors and friends and were so happy when you two decided to raise your family in the Johnson family home too Deb. We loved watching Jerry and his brothers playing basketball in their driveway and it's brought more smiles when I've peeked out the window and seen your grandsons playing in your driveway too! I'm sure Jerry will keep cheering them and all of you on from heaven in everything you do and rejoicing with you through every joy! What an incredible life Jerry lived and amazing legacy he left for his family. Sending Love and Prayers for you Deb and Kate and her family, Erin, Laurie and her family, and Bruce and Rich and their families too, for God's love, peace, comfort and strength to surround you all through this sad time and for healing of all your sorrow in time too. Vicky
Deb - I was so sorry to hear of your loss. I still remember meeting you and Jerry at the Veterans Home. You're in my prayers. Frank Drey
The photo of Jerry with his great big smile is perfect.
He always had his big smile on when I visited with him at Elmwood. His smile was so memorable. Always friendly, too.
Deb and family, love and prayers.
Dear Deb and Family-
We are sad to hear that Jerry passed. You are all in our thoughts and prayers. He is gone way too soon. We are thankful that you were both able to have the going away party at Elmwood to see how important you have been to so many. Also it was special seeing how Jerry continued even in his retirement to bring the love of golf to the next generation at Lenihan Intermediate in the after school sports program. His legacy will live on.
Love and peace,
Dave and Leah Mattox
What incredibly sad news. I loved my time with Jerry and Deb at Elmwood. Jerry was such an influence on me as a person, professional, father and golfer. It has been far too long since I last spoke with him, so I am terribly sad that I did not have the opportunity to tell him what an impact that he had on me. So sorry to hear about his passing. Heaven definitely gained a good one! My thoughts, prayers and love are with Deb, Kate, Erin and family.
Dave Whaley , what more can be said about Jerry , RIP
Deb, what can I say at a time like this? Jerry was such a wonderful, kind man and one of the best PGA golf professionals that I have ever known. The first time I met Jerry was when we were competing against each other in a fifth grade basketball game in Marshalltown. Wow! 60 years ago. I am so blessed that he and I stayed so close over the years since then. Again, I have never met a kinder, gentler man than Jerry. He will missed. I am so glad we crossed paths at the PGA Championship at Bellerive in St. Louis at the 100th PGA Championship. It was the last time we got to spend some quality time together and I will never forget it. RIP my dear friend!
Deb, sorry to hear about Jerry! You are both good friends and I will always be thankful for meeting you both. I know I will see Jerry again in heaven and will look forward to him greeting me with that big smile that was so much a part of his personality. I know this is a sad time, but let’s rejoice that we know Jerry is with Christ. Steven Scheib
Deb, I am a what you see is what you get kind of guy and as a couple no two people epitomized that more than you and jerry. Any thought of you and the big guy brings only a smile to my face. May you and your family find solace in the memory of a man who lived, loved and shared his life to the fullest and is remembered by all as the genuine article and a true symbol of all our better angels. Rip jj sharkie
To the Johnson Family: Sorry to hear of Jerry passing on. He was always a gent and ran a great club. I have many fond memories of ECC and the member-guest tourny.Peace.
It seems like yesterday when Jerry and I would box and Pro - wrestle on the mattress in the back yard. I am 73 now ! We were backyard neighbors with the Johnsons in the 50's.
I am saddened by Jerry's passing.
Hi Laura, Bruce, and Rich... Dan Sheeler, Ames
My condolences to the family of Jerry Johnson. Jerry was always cordial and accommodating whenever I bought our Dowling Catholic golf teams for competitions to Elmwood Country Club. I really appreciated his support for junior golf in Marshalltown and the state of Iowa. My thoughts and prayers are with the family.
I remember Jerry's immense patience with Elmwood club members, He would answer the most arcane golf rules questions, check your swing and run the pro shop all at once. My wife, a very occasional golfer, appreciated the way he managed the couple's outings and made them fun. Our son and his friends during middle school seemed to live on the golf course and they loved Jerry. Our condolences to the entire family for your loss.
What a special guy! A super friend from little league to senior citizen. Many memories as teammates and hearty laughs along the way. I could always count on the big man to listen and support. Sally never forgot that first trip to Iowa and the New Year’s Eve celebration (1973) in your home. She figured if I had friends like you two, I must be okay to marry. Our thoughts are with you and the girls.
Dave & Sally Rohenkohl
So enjoyed seeing the many photos of Jerry and family that are posted. What a great guy he was — always a smile for everyone and a kind hello. One of my very favorite MHS classmates. His love of family and for golf is an outstanding example of a good person — so glad he had a wonderful life. No one could ask for more. My sincere condolencea to Deb, Erin and family. What a great guy ...
I am saddened to hear of Jerry's death and prayers are with you all. Jerry was a gift to so many people and I continue this day to carry his teaching with me as a golfer. In fact, much of what he shared with me through lessons I have passed along to my son. I still find myself on the course often, when things aren't working, implementing teaching techniques he shared. He was a fabulous teacher of the game but he also always took time to listen and make me feel welcome. A few years ago, my son's high school team made it to the state tournament in Marshalltown. It was a pleasant surprise to see Jerry there. I hadn't seen him in probably 25 years but he recognized me instantly and then took time to go watch my son for a while. I will always be grateful for the knowledge he passed onto me and my golf game wouldn't be the same without it.
It’’s been said that “God gives us friends to show he cares for us”. Jerry’s a very good one and we are grateful. Sending sincere sympathy. Gary and Janet Ekvall
Dear Deb and Family,
I send condolences to all of you. My history with the Johnson family started in 1961 when they moved from Ames to Marshalltown and were neighbors on Sunset Lane. I have fond memories of Jerry, his brother, Bruce, and Jim Abrahamson, and I playing basketball on my folks’ drive-way on many a hot summer day. And try as they did, Jerry, Rich, and Bruce just could not get me to play and love golf they way they did. Plus, Laura was one of my favorites when I did playground work in the summers.
Jerry’s charm, sincere goodwill, and courtesy to others were always backed up by his wonderful smile. I know he will be an enduring warm , loving presence in the hearts of those who have had the good fortune of having him in their lives.
There will never be another Jerry Johnson that represented the epitome of a golf professional. He gave me my first golf lessons and to this very day when I have my problems on the course my friends will tell you I say " Jerry talk to me" and that always helps. Ken and I will miss him very very much! He was a tradition at Elmwood. Ken and "Sam" Bryngelson
Deb, Kate & Erin,
We both were very saddened when we heard of Jerry's death. What a kind, competitive, soft spoken gentleman. I saw those characteristics when we coached our daughters (Erin & Jannae) AAU basketball team together. Great memories of all the practices, and weekend tournament games. Then when we car pooled our daughters to Miller for early morning practices.
So sorry to read of Jerry's passing. A true gentleman and great professional. I know there were times Jerry didn't want to claim me as a student, but I still remember the lessons. Jerry and Deb ran the greatest club I have belonged too...my great privilege. I am happy I had the occasion to visit with Jerry and Deb at George Funk's memorial in the Roundhouse. What a loss.
Deb and family,
I have fond memories of Jerry teaching me the game of golf and spending many hours in your basement at LBCC bagging tees and striping balls. I was also lucky enough to cross paths with him several times over the years in my adult life when I moved to Des Moines after attending Central College. My thoughts and prayers go to you all, and Godspeed, Jerry.
"You know what I mean, you see what I'm saying." - Jerry Johnson
Cousin Jay here. As this time of life comes at us, I like to think not of the sorrow but how incredibly fortunate or even lucky we Sielemans have been compared to the other 99.9% of people who have ever lived. I believe I am safe in saying you had a great husband, loved and respected by all. While I have not seen much of you two as I have moved around the world, I think back that I had first met Jerry about 50 years ago!!! Remember the good times 'cuz cuz I am sure your memories are full of them. Love you muy mucho.
I am going to miss you buddy. After all of our golf trips from coast to coast, I was looking forward to some retirement rounds with you on the famous Iowa 9 hole courses. I will miss complaining about Iowa basketball and football, but we love 'em. Deb, Kate, Erin and family we love you and will remember our family adventures over our 50 year golfing friendship. God Bless You
RIP Jerry. You were a great mentor to many young men in the pro shop with you
Deb and family, he and you are in my thoughts and prayers
Deb and family, we feel your loss not only for your family but for the entire community of Marshalltown. Jerry without a doubt is a true Icon in this community. i recall Jerry playing athletics at Anson Jr High being coached by my dad and then looking up to Jerry when he competed for the Bobcats. He always supported the Bobcats Thick or thin. He was so great to work with when I was the AD when he allowed the Bobcats to play at the Club. Jerry you will never be forgot! God Bless you for what you have done for this community and your family. God no doubt will have you as the Golf Pro in Heaven
Deb my prayers are with you and your family. I was one of the lucky people to be able to spend lots of time with Jerry and really appreciated his friendship. He was always so positive. Heaven is a much better place nowWith Jerry hitting fairways and greens. Rest in peace my friend.
My deepest condolences to the family and friends of Jerry Johnson on his passing. Jerry was an icon to those of us a few years younger due to his success in the various Bobcat uniforms he wore. I was fortunate to have his younger sister, Laura, in my class. I have to believe she may have been the beneficiary of some of Jerry's earliest golf tutorials since she also competed so well as a Bobcat golfer. Laura, I'm sure you have lost a towering hero in your brother's passing. All of us that can call Marshalltown our hometown know what an advantage we feel in the great start we had in growing up in that community, Jerry certainly did more than his share to repay that debt, and of that you can be especially proud.
Jerry is one of the major reasons I have such great memories of all of our times together at Elmwood. Jerry made everyone feel loved and cared about, and encouraged. You two made a good team. I miss all the twilights. Jerry made it fun and a family feeling to belong to Elmwood. He fitted me for the clubs I still use and I think of that when I play. You all are an important part of our lives. Jerry was a major encouragement in our Son Patrick’s life.
Love you and wish I could reach through these words and give you a big hug!
Much Love and prayers
Jerry had a good heart and a never-ending smile, and I think it is probably safe to say that he never (or at least almost never) had a bad thing to say about anyone. I last saw him at the Class of 68 50th Reunion. Jerry came up to me and started relating a discussion that we had in high school that meant a lot to him and that he never forgot. Although I couldn't remember it, I was touched that he had a memory of me that was meaningful to him. And now the Class of 68 is at that stage in our lives where we are going to be saying these words more than we care to, but I will say them now: I can't believe he's gone, and we will miss him but always remember him.
We love you Cousin Deb. I’m sending all my love and support to you and I am so happy you had such a good husband and companion all these years!! Take some comfort in that.
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