Gerald "Jerry" Redlin, 99, Sidney, Montana

Memorial services for Jerry are Wednesday, November 29, 2023, at 11:00 am at Pella Lutheran Church in Sidney, Montana with Pastor Barb Haugerud officiating. A luncheon will follow the service for a time of fellowship and sharing. Gerald will be laid to rest in Richland Memorial Park Cemetery, Sidney, Montana. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Lutheran World Relief, the Foundation for Community Care, the MonDak Heritage Center, or a charity of your choice. Fulkerson Stevenson Funeral Home of Sidney, MT is assisting the family. Remembrances, condolences, and pictures may be shared with the family at http://www.fulkersons.com.

Gerald “Jerry” Grawunder Roger Redlin was born in Sidney, Montana on May 16, 1924, to Ernest and Hedwig “Hattie” (Grawunder) Redlin. He grew up on the family farm in the Three Buttes community, initially attending the rural school there. His father's determination that his sons all receive an advanced education led him and his brothers to also attend schools in Minneapolis and Seattle, as the family's situation was buffeted by the Great Depression and the onset of WWII. Every spring, however, the family would return to the Montana farm.

With the world at war, Jerry was drafted into the army in 1944, attending basic training in California and Officer Candidate School in Georgia, where he was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He boarded a troop ship to Japan in October 1945, where he was a member of the occupation forces, initially heading up a tank battalion motor pool because the military figured a farm boy would know his way around the machinery. The devastation he saw in fire-bombed Tokyo, and later in a specially authorized tour of war-torn Germany in 1948, made him a lifelong pacifist.

After mustering out of the Army in 1946, Jerry had an opportunity to attend the “Encampment for Citizenship” program in New York City which brought together young people from all over the world to live and study together for several weeks. While there he was notified that he had received a one-year scholarship to Ruskin College in Oxford, England to study economic theory. He sailed for England in 1948. His time in Tokyo, New York and Oxford afforded him several surprising encounters for a Montana farm kid, including a courtroom view of Tojo's war crimes trial, a car ride with Eleanor Roosevelt, a concert with a young Pete Seeger, and a meeting with then Princess Elizabeth, to name just a few.

In 1949, with his classes at Oxford completed, Jerry returned to the family farm and enrolled in Business College at Minot, ND, earning an associate degree in accounting. Jerry had an entrepreneurial streak and in those early years started or helped start businesses leasing minerals, fabricating fiberglass burial vaults and dune buggy bodies, and selling steel quonset buildings.

Jerry met his future wife Elsie Hoversten on a visit to Crosby, ND in 1952. Two years later on Feb. 7, 1954, they were married. They made their first home in Sidney and began their family with the arrival of twin sons Jonathon and Jeffrey, and daughters, Bethany and Meredith. The young family moved to Wolf Point where Jerry worked as an insurance adjuster and son Nathaniel was born, but once again they returned to the Sidney area, this time to take over the family farm. For the next 28 years, they lived in the Three Buttes Community near Lambert, MT and raised their family – now including youngest sons, Bradley and Marcus. To help support their growing family, Elsie returned to teaching at Lambert High School for a short period, and Jerry started a machinery dealership (with his brother, Ernie) on the home farm.

While family always came first for Jerry, church and community were close seconds as he strove to provide his family with well-rounded lives that took into account those in less fortunate circumstances. Jerry, along with Elsie, was an active member and leader in the local Democratic Party. Jerry also served his community through his work with the local Farmers Union organization and grain elevator, the First Lutheran Church in Lambert and later Pella Lutheran Church in Sidney, and the rural Three Buttes Elementary School (the same one he had attended as a child).

Jerry also served 36 years on the Montana Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Board, and 20 years on the board of directors for the Grain Terminal Association, now Cenex Harvest States, a farmer owned cooperative and Fortune 100 company.

In 1991, Jerry and Elsie retired from farming and moved into Sidney where he lived for the next 30 plus years. In “retirement” Jerry continued to serve on various boards, including the Sidney Health Center board when plans for a new assisted living center, The Lodge, were initiated. He joined Kiwanis. He and Elsie worked as volunteers with the hospice program in Sidney. It was also in retirement that Jerry joined many lifelong (and new) friends for coffee and spirited conversation, meeting 5 days a week for more than two decades. It became a highlight of his day, even as his health failed.

Jerry and Elsie had another passion-traveling to new places to expand their appreciation for the diverse peoples and cultures of the nation and the world. They were able to travel extensively, including trips to Egypt, the Sinai Peninsula, Japan, England, Jamaica, Mexico, Spain, Australia, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Greece, Turkey, and more. For Jerry's 90th birthday, his children returned with him to England where he shared stories and haunts from his time there as an Oxford student.

Jerry's greatest joy and biggest challenge in retirement was completing a two-year lay ministry program of the Evangelical Lutheran Church alongside Elsie. The two of them accepted interim positions at three different multi-point parishes across northeastern and central Montana, serving as lay pastors for nearly three years.

Jerry was a very warm, kind and generous man, who could strike up a lifelong friendship as easily as he did a conversation with a stranger. A caretaker by nature, he lovingly nursed two brothers and his beloved wife in their last days. His children were blessed to care for him, in turn.

Jerry’s greatest joys throughout his ninety-nine years of life remained his faith, friends, and always his family. He passed on peacefully at home on Tuesday, November 21, with his children at his side.

He is survived by his seven children and spouses, Jeffrey (Misty) Redlin, Jonathon (Karen) Redlin, Bethany (Dan) Redlin Mocko, Meredith Redlin, Nathaniel Redlin, Bradley (Erin) Jordahl Redlin, and Marcus (Karen) Redlin. Jerry is also survived by sixteen loving grandchildren and fifteen great-grandchildren including: Jen (John) McFadden and Mahayla; Steven Paulson; Jared (Chelsea) Paulson, Elly, Jesse, Neve, and Calum; Julian (Katie) Paulson; Jeanne (Chris) Sessing, Mattias and Olivya; Jacquie Redlin and Xavier; Stacey Redlin; Ian (Jeni) Redlin, Isabel and Finley; Melissa (Doug) Hagenbuch, Mason, Lily, and Maddalen; Rhea (Wes) Christensen, Molly and Jorgen; Devon Redlin; Eli and Asa Jordahl Redlin; and Emma, Kellyn and Daniel Redlin. He is also survived by 9 nephews and 9 nieces, with whom he also shared a special relationship.

He was proceeded in death by his parents; wife of 58 years, Elsie Redlin; brothers, Ernie, Rolland, Ward, and Robert Redlin; sisters-in-law Thelma Golden and Christine Redlin; brother-in-law Ted Hoversten; nieces Julie Kottsick, Kristi Redlin; and nephew Bruce Redlin.

 

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