Visitation will be held from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Friday, February 16, at the Pedersen Funeral Home in Morris, Minnesota, and from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 17, 2024, at the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Morris, Minnesota. Jerry’s celebration of life will be at the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday, February 17, 2024, at 10:30 a.m. A luncheon will be served after the mass, followed by the burial at the Immaculate Conception Cemetery in Sedan, Minnesota.
Gerald Landwehr passed away on Tuesday, January 9, 2024, after a long battle with cancer.
Jerry was born in Glenwood, Minnesota, on March 25, 1944, to Gene and Florence Landwehr. He enjoyed country life and the work that came with growing up on a farm with his brother Ronnie and his sisters, Carol and Bev. His chores included milking cows, gathering eggs, driving tractor, baling hay, and feeding livestock.
Jerry was always a cowboy at heart. His childhood heroes included Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, and it was such a treat for him to watch them on the silver screen. Jerry always had at least one special horse, and he was active in saddle club and equestrian drill team.
Jerry was a rather mischievous child. He told a story about locking his teacher in the outhouse at his country school, although he insisted, he was not the instigator. Despite that little incident, he graduated from Brooten High School in 1962. He then continued his education at UMM, where he received his degree in secondary education with a Spanish major.
In the summer of 1965, he worked on a dude ranch in Montello, Wisconsin, where he met Jill Hagan, a waitress from Pennsylvania. Jill and Jerry married on June 17, 1967, and Jerry began his career as a Spanish teacher in Thief River Falls, Minnesota. They moved to the Morris area in 1970 when they bought ten acres of land on Long Lake. It was the perfect place to raise their three children, Jodie, Lisa, and Michael. Together they transformed the dilapidated farm site into their own piece of paradise, which they proudly named Long Lake Ranch. They hauled away garbage, tore down old buildings, planted trees, maintained a beautiful lawn, made paths through the woods, added a dock to the lake shore, and turned the dairy barn into a stable. They enjoyed a menagerie of animals along the way – always a dog and horses, but also chickens, ducks, pigs, bum calves, turkeys, litters of baby kittens, and two pet raccoons. Jill always received compliments on the abundantly beautiful flower beds adorning the property, but she had to give all of the credit to Jerry. He loved to plant and nurture, and he became famous throughout the neighborhood for his huge pumpkins and abundant apple crops that he shared with everyone who stopped by. Jerry also enjoyed hosting picnics and marshmallow roasts and taking friends for buggy rides. He was a very talented craftsman. He spent a lot of time carefully building model railroads, and he always had a wood-working project in progress. In December, his garage was affectionately known as Santa’s workshop.
Jerry gave his kids so many wonderful memories. He shared his passion for football with Michael. The two of them ran pass plays together in the front yard and cheered for the Vikings. He rode horses with Jodie and Lisa and saved money for a horse trailer so the girls could enter horse shows and ride in parades. He built a fort in the woods for summer days spent playing cowboys and Indians. He took his family canoeing and camping, usually in a thunderstorm with deadly mosquitoes. And although he was not a runner himself, he never missed a 5K or marathon relay, chauffeuring his family members to the starting line, cheering as they crossed the finish, and treating everyone to the Pizza Ranch buffet to celebrate the run.
Jerry taught Spanish at Morris High School until 1999. He retired a year after his first grandchild was born, saying, “I missed her first birthday, but I’m not going to miss any more.” True to his word, he and Jill made numerous trips to Montana and Iowa to share in the lives of their six grandchildren. For times when he couldn’t be there in person, he bought a video camera and VHS tapes and filmed himself and Gramma doing puppet shows, which he sent to the grandchildren by US Mail.
After Jill passed away and his cancer treatments intensified, each of his children tried to convince him to move closer to one of them. But he did not want to leave Long Lake Ranch. He did his best to continue enjoying the simple pleasures of his life there – a humming bird at his feeder, a bountiful pumpkin crop to share, a little flock of ducklings, his beloved springer spaniel, and an elaborate display of Christmas lights. Just before the holidays, he finally agreed it was time for Jodie to place him on a waiting list for assisted living in Rapid City. He never got to move there; it seems God had a different dwelling place in mind.
Jerry is survived by his children: Jodie (Cary Heiser) Landwehr of Rapid City, SD, Lisa (Clayton) Phipps of Brusett, MT, and Mike (Sharon) Landwehr of Fort Dodge, IA; six grandchildren: Julie Phipps, Danny Phipps, Luke Phipps, Abby Landwehr, Isaac Landwehr, Hannah Landwehr; sisters: Carol Terhaar, and Bev (Murray) Schomburg; brother Ronnie (Gayle) Landwehr; and numerous nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his wife Jill Landwehr; his parents; brother-in-law, Raymond Terhaar; and stepmother, Belva Landwehr.
Should friends and family desire, online memorials can be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society at give.LLS.org.