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1865 Eastern Ave SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49507
Phone: 616-241-5665
Fax: 616-241-5247
Gerald Green

Gerald "Jerry" Green

Sunday, July 30th, 1939 - Wednesday, February 12th, 2020
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Obituary

Gerald Raymond “Jerry” Green died peacefully at home February 12, 2020 after a 4-month struggle with digestive complications. He was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses since February 1973 and served his God faithfully until the end. Jerry was born at home July 30, 1939 to Hazel Riel in Boyne City, Charlevoix County, Michigan. Between his father, Claude Green, and his mother, he had a large family of step-siblings, 12 in all. He was the youngest of the children.
Raised in East Jordan, where he started school, he spent his high school years in Boyne City, where he acquired the nickname “Jake” and attended Boyne City High. He was on the Rambler track, football and basketball teams. He loved to run and do field events and the track team, known as “the thinclads” was the State Class C champion in 1957 and 1958. They regularly set records at the CMU and Petoskey relays. The 1957 Rambler football team finished 7-0 that year and was voted the Detroit Times #1 team of the year. The basketball team was also outstanding, having notable battles with Harbor Springs and great seasons overall.
He graduated in 1958, a Rambler for life, and worked for his mentor Bill (Inga) Casper, where he learned the dry cleaning trade. Bill’s son, Rick (Kay) was a best friend, along with Carl (Sue) Charon, Bob (Kathy) Christensen, Morrie (Sue) Hobbs, Jim (Cam) Camburn, Steve Williams, Ron Holowasko and Doug Newville.
In the mid-sixties, he and his friend, Al (Bobbie) Towne got on a bus and went to Grand Rapids looking for work. He was hired by the Salhaney family and managed Uptown Cleaner’s flagship location on Division Avenue for several years, being the company’s youngest manager. Later, in the 70’s he began his long career at Clipper Belt Lacer (now Flexico Steel), where he worked first in the plant for many years then moving into Marketing Support.
In the 70’s he began to study the Bible and he dedicated his life to Jehovah and was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. He studied with Roger Schopp and was part of the Home Acres and then Grandville Congregations. In 1973 shortly after his baptism, Jerry said, “Here I am! Send me!” (Isa 6:8), and he moved to the newly-formed Central Congregation in Grand Rapids and became a ministerial servant with the new group as a founding member. He met Margaret Lewis, who adopted him as a son. He became part of the extended Pittman-Lewis family, renting the 3rd floor of Margaret’s lovely Heritage Hill home and trying to help Margaret keep an eye on her aging mother, Nonnie, and daughter Shelley, who was on the go as a pioneer. Margaret was battling cancer and he would often talk to her late into the night on the phone until her pain meds took effect and she would go to sleep. He’d then get up and go to work at 6 in the morning. Later Carole, Shelley’s sister, moved into the house with her children, and Jerry became an “uncle” to Daniel (Vonetta), Angelea (Gregory) and young Margaret. Sister Lewis died in 1978. She wanted Jerry to stay until Shelley got married, but a young sister named Nancy Massey changed that plan and he and Nancy became a family of their own November 22, 1980, being one of several couples making up the “class of 1980 newly-weds”. They loved riding around town in his red Caddy listening to Barry White. They later became “Uncle Jerry and Aunt Nancy” to even more wonderful young ones as Jeff (Dena), Chris, Amber (Arnez), Austin and Preston also became a regular part of their lives. They thoroughly enjoyed their role in helping to care for the kids.
He and Nancy had wonderful, service experiences over the years, serving first as an elder at Central, and then later serving as publishers at the East and then Cascade Congregations, where they served from 1996 until 2013, and then finally “coming home” that year to the Downtown Congregation serving with many old and dear friends. Together, they worked on local Kingdom Hall projects at Central and Wyoming/West and Jerry helped construct the drain field at the Holt Assembly Hall. Jerry supported Nancy as she regular pioneered for 15 of those years and together they had the privilege of being caregivers to Nancy’s mother, Hattie, as she dealt with the sad effects of Alzheimer’s disease down to her death in 2009. He fulfilled a promise he made to her mother the day he and Nancy married. He retired from Clipper after 37 years of service, walking out the door with his friend, Danny (Rose) Brewer, and leaving Nancy to punch him out for the last time.
Jerry and Nancy continued making lasting memories going to conventions, cruising the Caribbean with friends like Scott and Carla Jackson, being together at home and in the congregation. He was willing to do whatever he could to help the brothers and young people in the congregation, encouraging them to stay on course and serve Jehovah with the same joy and gratitude he had. He really enjoyed celebrating anniversaries with friends, and hosting the “NoReason” events in the past few years. He loved being home watching Lions football, suffering mightily as a fan, fussing at the TV. His buddy, Brian (Tara) Kinsey, tried to convert him into a Packers fan, and almost succeeded. Jerry had seen the last Lions championship team in 1957 and, while realistic, kept hoping. He enjoyed hosting draft parties for the NFL and NBA drafts, and Super Bowls with Nancy and the boys. Especially fun times were the annual “boys only” trips to Pistons games at the Palace in the 80’s and 90’s with Sam Mattaliano. Nancy and Christie were ‘honorary boys’ for those events and we all had a great time. His wardrobe and shoes were legendary, and he loved thinking outside the box regarding color and style. Shopping and finding ‘a great deal’ were things he never tired of doing.
When public witnessing started in Grand Rapids, Jerry fell in love with and participated in that work regularly for the last several years, up until he got sick in the fall of 2019. He and Nancy started learning Croatian in 2004 and, along with the Blackburns and friends from Lansing, helped start the Croatian Ministry in Grand Rapids, a work they were happy to see grow into a pre-group later.
Jerry had dealt courageously with health problems over the years, having 23 surgeries in all. He bounced back time and again, but his final illness, which began in October 2019, took its toll on him. He fought hard to recover from 2 operations. Finally, he and Nancy made the decision to come home with Hospice Care February 1, 2020 after being hospitalized 4 months. He died in her arms one hour after watching the Pistons lose another one and ridiculing them throughout the game. A beautiful end, the way he wanted.
Ten of Jerry’s siblings, along with his mother, father, Spiritual Mom, Margaret Lewis, home girl Kathy Jo Pittman, in-laws Charles and Hattie Massey, brother-in-law Charles Jr., Spiritual Mentors John Colburn, Sr., Vince (Sally) Palazzo and Floyd Jackson, and his favorite golf watching buddy, Aunt Bessie Mathews have preceded him in death. His wife of 39 years, Nancy, misses him deeply along with his brothers Gordon Stanley and Bill Weeks, sisters-in-law Nelda Stanley and Barb Weeks, brother-in-law Brian (Shirley) Dumas and family, 7 generations of the Weeks-Stanley family, surviving members of the Boyne City Class of 1958 including nephew Don (Kitty) Nessen, special Sisters Shelley Carter, Carole Williams, Willa Williams, his beloved nieces and nephews mentioned above and their children, dear friends Mark (Stephanie) Addison, John (Dawn) O’Neill, Gayle (Pat) Bishop, Joe (Diane) Jackson, the Brewer, Zolicoffer, Kinsey, Kazadi and Johnson families, Jerry (Edie) Pittman, A’Lynne (Sam) Jenkins, Duane (Debra) Pittman, his dear friend Ted (Jean) Harry and his Grand Rapids Congregation family, whom he viewed as a gift from Jehovah. He would say, “If you find the brothers and sisters, you’ve found a home”, and he was loved to the end by them.
His younger friends Josh (Kherington and Bentlee), JustinVF, Amonte, Khapri, Ashanti, Jacqueline, Autumn, Troy, Jr (Samantha), Darcell, Bert, Brian Williams, Preston (Bridgett) Shumpert, Rob LaGrone, LaVel (Destiny) were his heart. You all kept him young and laughing. He wished the best for all of you.
His race is finished, dear friends, and he was a winner. He wanted us all to keep running to win (1 Cor 9:24), so we’ll see each other very soon in Paradise.
March 7 2020 at 2pm. At Holiday Inn 3063 Lake Eastbrook Blvd. Family will greet guests starting at 1.30pm. video and refreshments immediately following. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Jehovah's Witnesses via the jw.org website, Spectrum Health Hospice. If you wish to assist Nancy with reception costs, please see her directly.
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N

Nancy Green

Posted at 11:28am
From Ted Harry, Phoenix Arizona:

As you age, you have a tendency to forget a lot of the moments that you have had. What I think about most is how Jerry faced the challenge of his 1st illness, an event that could very easily have ended his life in about 38 years ago in 1982. I was there with him and saw what strong faith he had in Jehovah's ability to bring him back. His blood count was around 2 or 3 and he boldly stood up to the hospital's staff's every attempt to give him blood! I thought, 'that's the kind of faith that I want to have'. His example is one that I will never forget!
As I reflect over this great loss and how we cared for each other, it warms my heart and our reunion will be very special.
Nancy, thank you for the example you set with being a caregiver and an extremely loyal, loving wife. Being there with you both at the start of you all's journey and I look forward to the future. Thank you for taking such good care of my brother.
GS

Georgia Smith

Posted at 03:24pm
Nancy it was a great pleasure knowing Gerald he had a beautiful since of humor always making you laugh their aren't many people like him he will truly be missed William n Georgia
BW

Brian Williams

Posted at 10:19pm
In life, we only hope to make a lasting mark in someone's life, or more specifically on a person’s heart.

Jerry had that effect on me. I've been blessed to have many positive influences in my life, but Jerry was more than an influence. He was my big brother. He must've known that I was "Trouble".....because that's what he called me. Of course I had to recognize that he's known me long enough to be able to say that with confidence(smile).

As my big brother, he was always up to have heart to hearts. Although I let him know how much his wisdom had helped me with life in general, I don't think he truly knew how much. No matter what I was dealing with personally, like clockwork here comes Jerry, reading my face, knowing that something was wrong. All he would say was "You know i'm here if you ever want to talk." I always appreciated that. That's what I meant by a person making an impression on someone's heart.

These last few months, were especially hard for me with Jerry. He would say here and there that he was 80 years old. But I looked at it like he was just trying to one up me (we always talked about who had more 'metal' in their bodies from surgeries, yeah crazy).
But I never looked at him as being 'older'. that spoke loudly as to the kind of person he was. You never saw age, you saw a older looking kid, with the early stages of male pattern baldness! (I know he'd like that one)

That million dollar smile, Dress to impress wardrobe.....He knew he had his work cut out with me. He kept sending me fliers for suits and ties....and socks! Who needs designer socks? Obviously he saw that my Sock Game was lacking.....oh yeah, my suit game needed some help too. He literally told me to meet him at this store and had me pick out a suit. In my mind, I'm almost 50 years old, why are you letting anyone buy you a suit. I had to realize that this was my big brother, and it was what he wanted to do. He stressed to me afterwards, "he wanted to." Nuff said big bro!

Big Heart, Big Smile, Big Brother! I will miss him dearly. Even in writing this my heart still can't believe that I have to wait for him to awake from his "Nap". But whenever he does wake, I hope to be there......So I can see just how good he was in basketball and track! I'm not holding nothing back, and i'm not going to wait for a thousand years to challenge him. My big brother Jerry. I love you with all of my heart, and hopefully I can be just like you!
Rev. 21:4,5 "WRITE FOR THESE WORDS ARE FAITHFUL AND TRUE!"
KP

Karen Peterson

Posted at 06:42pm
We are so sorry for your loss. Thankfully Jehovah's promise is but a moment away. Your cousins from AZ
N

Nancy Green

Posted at 06:09pm
Hello Friends and Family:
MEMORIAL SERVICE DETAILS:

Service will be Saturday, March 7, 2020 2 p.m.
Holiday Inn Ballroom
3063 Lake Eastbrook Blvd
Grand Rapids MI 49512
Light refreshments will follow until 5 pm

In lieu of flowers, you may make memorial contributions to Spectrum Health Hospice, or donations can be made via the Jw.org website, using the donations tab. If you would like to assist Nancy with the reception cost, you may do so privately by contacting her.

Thank you.
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