Cover photo for Gerald "Jerry" Poortenga's Obituary
Gerald "Jerry" Poortenga Profile Photo
1937 Gerald "Jerry" 2023

Gerald "Jerry" Poortenga

October 4, 1937 — December 8, 2023

Kalamazoo, Michigan


Gerald “Jerry” Poortenga, age 86 of Kalamazoo, passed away Friday morning, December 8, 2023, and entered the gates of Heaven. He was born October 4, 1937, in Comstock, Michigan, the son of Albert and Angie (VanDyk) Poortenga. Jerry was a 1955 graduate of Kalamazoo Christian High School and went on to spend the next 37 years working for The Upjohn Company before retiring.

Jerry was united in marriage on June 26, 1959, to his loving wife Marilyn, sharing nearly 60 wonderful years together until her death in 2019. Lifelong members of Comstock Christian Reformed Church, they enjoyed many summers in South Haven and winters in Naples, Florida. They loved going to sporting events, especially when it involved their children or grandchildren, and they spent many years volunteering their time at Second Impressions. Jerry was proud of his family and his home. He was meticulous about having a clean car and a well-manicured lawn. Jerry loved being in his sunroom, reading a book and enjoying his beautiful backyard. He also loved sitting in his recliner watching sports and especially cheering on the Michigan Wolverines. Jerry’s regular breakfasts at Julianna’s, with family and friends, were always a highlight of his week.

He is survived by his children: Julie (Loyd) Pylat, Cheryl (Dave) Hawkes, and Brian (Shannon) Poortenga; 4 grandchildren: Justin (Danielle) Hawkes, Chad (Emily) Hawkes, Alex Pylat, and Carly Pylat; a great-grandson Jack; his sister, Carol (Gary) VanderLugt; a sister-in-law, Pat (Jerry) Clough; and several nieces and nephews. Jerry was also blessed with special neighbors and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother J. (Marge) Poortenga, and his wife Marilyn.

Friends may meet the family from 5:00-8:00 PM, Wednesday, December 27th at the Langeland Family Funeral Home, Westside Chapel, 3926 South 9th Street. Private interment will be in Maple Grove Cemetery in Comstock. Memorials may be directed to the Park Village Pines or Centrica Care Navigators. Please visit Jerry's personalized web page to sign the online guest book or leave a message for the family at


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gerald "Jerry" Poortenga, please visit our flower store.


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