Bristow — Jarold "Jerry" Evan Dennis, 87, of Bristow died of natural causes Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020 at Niobrara Valley Hospital in Lynch.
Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 1, 2021 at Brockhaus Funeral Home in Spencer.
Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Bristow. Pastor Glen Stahlecker will officiate. Social distancing guidelines will be followed. Masks are required.
Burial will be in the Bristow City Cemetery in Bristow.
Memorials may be made to the family for future designation.
Jarold was born on Feb. 20, 1933, to Marjorie Rose (Pugh) Dennis and Gerald Leonard Dennis at his parent’s home in Tilden. When Jerry was four years old, his family moved from Tilden to Mitchell, where his dad took a teaching/coaching position. In 1937, Jerry’s father coached Mitchell High to an undefeated season and number one ranking for the Class B Tiger football team, with little Jerry as the team mascot.
Jerry’s family moved to Jolliet, IL in 1942 during the war while his father worked in a munition’s factory.
After the war, they moved to Naugatuck, CT where his father worked for the Naugatuck Chemical Corporation as a sales manager.
Later, they moved to Philadelphia, PA, where Jerry attended Roxborough High School, and was president of the freshman class and lettered in football all four years.
Jerry was also a member of the Boy Scouts of America where he had the honor of taking a trip, by ship, to France, Belgium and Switzerland and back to Paris to take in the sixth Scout World Jamboree in 1947. To his surprise, when he got home, his parents had moved to a different neighborhood in which he did not have the address!
During the summers of his first three years of high school, Jerry worked at a youth camp in New Hampshire. He worked on a Pennsylvania State Highway sod and grading crew during his senior year.
Upon high school graduation from Roxborough High, in 1951, Jerry returned to his birth state of Nebraska, to further his education at Wayne State College. This was the same college his parents attended. While at Wayne, Jerry was a standout running back on the Wayne State Football team for four years.
Here, he met the love of his life, Jan A. (Gibson) Dennis in 1952. Jerry was a senior at Wayne State and Jan was teaching at Pilger High School when they were married on Oct. 29, 1954, at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Bristow. Their marriage and love endured, lasting through the birth of three children, Denise in December 1955, Jannelle in March of 1959 and Jerald in August of 1960. Jerry and Jan were married for 62 years, until the death of Jan, in June of 2017.
Upon graduating from Wayne State in May of 1955 Jerry and Jan moved to Bristow, where Jerry began working for his father-in-law Launce W. Gibson at the Nebraska State Bank in Bristow. Jerry’s mentoring at the bank was cut short with the untimely death of Launce Gibson on Dec.12, 1957.
In 1960 Jerry and Jan purchased, and moved to the Jake Wagner place just west of Bristow, where they improved the farmstead over the years, and would live the rest of their lives.
In 1970, Jerry and Jan purchased control of the bank from Jan’s mother, Julia and continued with the same sound banking policies that Jan’s parents instilled in the bank, dating back to 1924.
Throughout Jerry’s 65 years of living in Bristow, he continually worked for the good of the community in all ways with many community projects to enhance not just the present, but also the future of the Bristow and Lynch communities.
Jerry was involved in the tough consolidations of the school districts in the 60s that ultimately resulted in four school districts in the county at the time. Jerry made many speeches and presentations during the struggle to build a new hospital in Lynch, so medical care would continue in the area. Jerry worked towards and spearheaded the creation of the Niobrara Valley Development Corporation, that funded the construction of the new Niobrara Valley Hospital in 1970, serving as its first president.
When a fire started in the Bristow Tavern, burning it down, along with the Bristow Locker and Grocery store in 1975, Jerry helped get both businesses financed in the construction of new buildings, helping to keep the main street occupied and the town of Bristow going. Jerry also helped Dr. Shirley Claassen in getting financing and obtaining lots for her new medical clinic that she built in 1964. Jerry was a charter member of the Bristow Lions Club since 1955, helping in many community projects throughout the years. Jerry and his family raised three of the 14 German shepherd dogs for a Bristow Lions Club project for seeing eye dogs, taking them to Leader Dog School for the Blind in Michigan. Jerry served on the Lynch Public School Board and the Bristow School Board, serving as president for several years, continually working for a good faculty and a good school in all ways. He helped coach the Lynch football team for several years. He also served on the Trinity Lutheran Church board, and the Tri-County Hospital board. Jerry helped to organize the very successful Bristow Centennial Celebration in July of 1995.
In Jerry’s free time he enjoyed hunting geese and fishing with friends. He enjoyed many years of bowling on the Butte Livestock and Nebraska State Bank bowling teams at Imperial Lanes in Spencer and Eagle Lanes in Lynch. He also was an avid golfer and played church league softball.
For several years he owned a racehorse and was partners on another racehorse with Hank Fish and Norman Anderson, racing as far away as Arizona.
Jerry and Jan also took the family on many vacations over the years, visiting family in all parts of the country.
Jerry and Jan were always avid followers of the Lynch Eagle sports teams, and their three children and six grandchildren’s activities, rarely ever missing an event. Birthdays were always very important, celebrating with family for every individual’s birthday through the year.
Jerry retired from the Nebraska State Bank in 2019 after 64 years of employment, a majority of those years as president of the bank. After retirement, Jerry remained on the board of directors in both Bristow and Lynch Banks.
Jerry is survived by his sister Tamara (Roger) Engel of Brooklyn, CT; three children Denise (Paul) Fisher of Bristow, Jannelle (Mauri) Micanek of Lynch and Jerald (Julie) Dennis of Bristow; and six grandchildren Raechel Dennis of Osmond, Joe Micanek of Lynch, Lauren Dennis of Omaha, Jabe (Marisa) Fisher of Lynch, Marissa Dennis of Omaha and Hannah Dennis of Oregon.
He was preceded in death by his wife Jan, parents Gerald and Marjorie Dennis, infant brother-in-law Ralph Gibson and parents-in-law Launce and Julia Gibson.