Jerry Speedy went to be with the Lord early on the morning of June 23rd, 2020, at StoryPoint in Portage, Michigan. He was at peace and comfortable, surrounded by family. He had excellent care from the staff of StoryPoint, ComfortKeepers and Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan. He was ready to go home after his brave 15-year battle with Parkinson's. Jerry's life was one of service, to his Nation, to his employees, community, and most importantly God.
Jerry was born in Columbus, Indiana, just two weeks after the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor. Following his graduation from Columbus High School, where he played on the basketball team, he joined the United States Air Force. Jerry attended basic training at Lackland Air Force base, San Antonio, TX. As an Airman 3rd Class, he was sent to Gunter AFB in Montgomery, AL in 1961 to attend Medical Administrative Specialty School.
Following the Air Force, Jerry returned to his native Indiana where he worked to put himself through business school at Indiana University, becoming a lifelong fan of Hoosier basketball. Jerry owned several small businesses in central and southern Indiana, including "Trader Vic's" camper dealership in Franklin. Moving to Kalamazoo in 1978, Jerry joined Edward Rose and Sons where he spent the rest of his career. He developed and built over 18,000 multi-family units (and managed 30,000 in total) in nine states throughout the Midwest and South. Being responsible for over 1,100 employees, what he enjoyed most about his job was seeing those he led develop professionally.
Jerry enjoyed giving back to his community. Jerry donated generously to Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Southwest Michigan for many years. In 2012, BBBS recognized him as "Man of the Year" at their annual banquet. He quietly helped numerous small entrepreneurs get seed money for their endeavors or folks simply with housing when they fell on hard times.
Jerry loved God the most in his life. While he did not wear his faith on his sleeve, he was quick to answer to those who asked why he was so confident with his journey in life. He gave God the glory and credit for his success. He gave generously to his church, Texas Corners Bible Church. He led others to the message of trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal savior. He would explain that faith in His life, death and resurrection was the path to everlasting life and true joy in this world.
In his active years, Jerry was an avid hunter, golfer and tennis player. He had many memorable hunting trips in Northern Michigan, out West and in Canada, including an ATV trip above the Arctic Circle for caribou where Jerry's party camped on the frozen tundra. As a long-time member of Kalamazoo Country Club, Jerry won several individual and team tournaments, including the Red Blazer. Jerry developed a passion for flight in the Air Force, eventually becoming a student pilot and owning his own plane. Equally at home in the kitchen as outdoors, Jerry greatly enjoyed cooking and wine-making, hosting numerous memorable gatherings for family and friends.
Jerry is survived by his three children Amanda (Dr. Peter) Ziemkowski, Jill (Jeff) Barnum and Mike Speedy, as well as six grandchildren, Emily and Mitchell Barnum, Abigail and Andrea Ziemkowski, and Eliana and Thaddeus Speedy. He is preceded in death by his bride of 36 years, Shirley Ann; his oldest grandchild, Brayden Barnum; his parents, Ray and Marie Speedy; and sister, Pat Williams.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the family has chosen a private graveside service in Hope Cemetery, Texas Corners on Thursday, July 2nd at 11 am. For those who knew Jerry and wish to pay their final respects, there will be a drive-by graveside opportunity from 10-11 am. In lieu of flowers, please consider a small donation to Texas Corners Bible Church, Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, or Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Michigan in his honor.
Please visit Jerry's personalized online guestbook at https://www.langelands.com
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