Gerald (Jerry) Gail Goetzinger passed away peacefully on June 13, 2023. Jerry was born to Mike Goetzinger and Lucy DeMuth Goetzinger in Hemingford, Neb. on March 15, 1932. Jerry has one younger brother, Dallas Goetzinger. Raised on a farm near Hemingford, Jerry entered the Army on October 8, 1952, and served during the Korean War. He was honorably discharged in September of 1954.
Jerry married his great love, Janis Maxine Kline, on Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 1957. They celebrated their 65th anniversary in November. They moved to Martin, S.D. where they raised their four children: Mike, Pat, Cathy, and Tom.
Upon his completion of service from the Korean War, he returned to the farm for a few weeks then promptly started his career as a farm equipment dealer first working for a local John Deere dealership, eventually becoming a partner. He founded Goetzinger Enterprises, LTD. and its Divisions GE Farm Supply, GE Sales & Salvage & GE Manufacturing, Jerry was in the farm equipment business for 45 years until he retired in 2002.
A veteran, Jerry had 69 continuous years as an active member of the American Legion. At Post 240 he held all positions at the Post level. From 1976-77 he was South Dakota State Commander of the American Legion. From 1988-90 he served as National Vice Commander of the American Legion. Jerry served on the South Dakota State Veterans Commission being reappointed to the Commission by multiple Governors. He also belonged to the VFW, 40/8, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, the Knights of Columbus and was a Bennett County Commissioner.
Jerry was full of life and especially loved spending time with family and friends. Giving back to the community, the veterans organizations he so loved and serving others was a great part of his life.
Jerry was a renowned public speaker on veteran issues and patriotism as well as a spellbinding storyteller, often finding himself at the center of the story. See “The Batesland Raid,” designated as one of the top stories published by South Dakota Magazine.
His grandchildren will remember him fondly for hosting epic family gatherings, teaching them life lessons and taking turns ringing the bell on the Bennett County homestead. In the Black Hills, Grandpa Jerry holds a special spot in their heart where the family cabin is. His personal hiking stick will always have a place near the cabin’s fireplace.
Jerry was preceded in death by his parents, Mike and Lucy Goetzinger and his granddaughter, Brooke Catherine Goetzinger.
He is survived by his wife, Janis, Martin; children Mike (Karen), Pat (Erin), Cathy (Pete) Bolzer, Tom (Kim), and his brother Dallas (Joyce) and 13 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
A Vigil service will be Tuesday, June 20, 7:00 p.m. at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, in Martin. Funeral Mass will be held Wednesday, June 21, 2023, 10:00 a.m. Burial will be in Black Hills National Cemetery, Sturgis, at 2:30 p.m., June 21, 2023. Bennett County Funeral Service is in charge of arrangements.