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Jerry A. Friesen, 87, of North Newton Kansas died at home on September 11, 2020. He was born on January 22, 1933 in Salina KS to Inez P. (Carmichael) Friesen and Arthur F. Friesen. His only sibling, Paula Sauder of Emporia, was born 13 years later. Jerry was a loving husband; a beloved father, grandfather and great-grandfather; a dear brother and an avid golfer. He was active in the church choir and with financial planning at Trinity Heights United Methodist Church, and most recently was a resident of independent living, Kidron Bethel Village in North Newton.
He graduated from Salina High School in 1950 where he also served as the student manager of the State champion basketball team. He was a member of the golf team for his first year of college at Kansas Wesleyan University. He graduated from Kansas State University in 1955 where he studied Civil Engineering and was a member of Steel Ring and Sigma Tau honorary engineering organizations. He was president of Alpha Kappa Lambda fraternity and elected student class Treasurer at KSU his senior year. He was an active member of the Air Force ROTC and received a 2nd Lieutenant Commission upon college graduation. While in college, Jerry was employed with Wilson & Company Engineers performing surveying work, and contributed to the Kansas Turnpike and Cowley County Lake construction projects.
He met Donna Voth on a blind date in 1954. They went to a dance at the Trig in Wichita, which Jerry recalled as “a night to remember.” They were later engaged, and then married on December 27, 1955. During their life together they lived in 18 homes (including 3 parsonages) at locations as varied as Salina and Newton KS, the Philippines, Bellevue NE, Tucson AZ, and Columbus GA.
Jerry entered the Air Force in 1955. During his active duty he graduated from pilot training and received his wings in 1956. He flew C-124 cargo planes from Travis AFB CA to Hawaii, Wake Island, Japan and Guam. After his 2-years of active duty and a brief job back at Wilson, he worked for the Air Force civil service for the rest of his career. His work duties included master planning, fire protection, and construction, and his career culminated in his assignment as a Deputy Base Civil Engineer at Robins AFB, GA.
After his retirement in 1989, he pursued his passion for golfing and supported Donna’s new career as a United Methodist Church minister. He was also a tax preparer for H&R Block for 15 years, and for the IRS’s volunteer income tax assistance program (VITA) for over 11 years.
Jerry’s favorite sport was GOLF, which he learned from his Dad. Over his lifetime he achieved 5 Aces (holes-in-one), including one in Salina KS, 3 in Georgia (including two holes-in-one during the same round!), and one at Fox Ridge in Newton KS.
One of Jerry’s life lessons to his kids was to never forget to turn the lights out when you leave a room.
Jerry was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife Donna Friesen of North Newton KS; his children Janelle Albertson of Auburn WA, Sharon (Keith) Penner of Newton KS, and Kent (Dawn) Friesen of Austin TX; his sister Paula Sauder of Emporia KS; his grand-children Malcolm Gray, Jacob (EJ) Penner, Isaac Penner, Anika (Keith) Baker, Eli (Amanda) Friesen, and Elizabeth Friesen; and great-grand-children Sabrina and Karson Baker, and Ezekiel Friesen.
There will be a private family graveside service. Gifts or contributions can be made to the Harry Hynes Hospice, Trinity Heights United Methodist Church, or Kidron Bethel Healthcare Benevolent Fund.
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