Gerald F. “Jerry” Watzka, 87, died Wednesday, September 9, 2020. Jerry was born on November 6, 1932, in Pine Grove. He was the son of Joseph and Emma Watzka and was the 4th of 10 children.
Jerry went to school in Pine Grove, Wisconsin. He enlisted in the Navy at age 17, and from 1950 to 1953 served during the Korean War. He was very proud of the fact that he had the opportunity to serve his country. In 2014, he was chosen to go on an honor flight to Washington D.C. with other Korean War vets.
On August 6, 1955, Jerry married the love of his life, Marilyn Ledvina, at All Saints Catholic Church in Denmark. They moved to Green Bay, which they made their home. Jerry worked at Northern Paper Mills/American Can from 1953 to 1977. In 1977, he bought and became owner/operator of J. Watzka Trucking through which he contracted the delivery service for Sears. He retired from his business in 1994. After his retirement, he pursued his real interest and became a blackjack dealer. He dealt blackjack at North Star and Oneida casinos. This wasn’t work for him; this was his enjoyment and passion. Jerry always had a full table when he was dealing and had such a following because of his bubbly personality. Jerry received Employee of the Month honors a few times, including his first month working as a dealer. His coworkers and players loved him. There was never a day that he dreaded going to work. When Jerry wasn’t dealing, he enjoyed getting together with family and friends to play cards at each other’s homes.
He was a member of the Knights of Columbus Council #4505, and the VFW Post #9677 for many years. He was an active member of St. Mary’s of the Angels Parish since 1955.
Jerry’s real life’s passion was his 5 children. He was an amazing father! He was a huge cheerleader and supporter for all their sports. Jerry would spend his weekends taking the kids to the ball diamond to get additional practice or playing basketball with the kids in the driveway. He loved watching games. He did everything he could to attend all the games and he followed them through their high school and college careers.
Jerry loved his wife Marilyn to the end. They were married for over 64 years and were a true example of LOVE. Jerry was the primary caregiver for Marilyn around the clock for 7 years after she had both legs amputated, until he became ill himself and was unable to do so. Jerry tried to make life as normal as possible by taking Marilyn to church, shopping, casinos, etc. He was so dedicated to caring for her that he never complained about the heavy workload.
Jerry was loved and respected by all, especially his children and their friends. For many years Jerry went on hunting and fishing trips with his son’s and their friends. He was “one of the boys” back then. He was also an avid professional and college sports fan. When he wasn’t working, or playing sports with his kids, he would watch sports on TV.
We know dad is in heaven happy to be reunited with his lovely bride again. He is also playing poker and being dealt a Royal Flush every day! We love you and will miss you terribly dad!
Survivors include his five children, Jerry (Jane) Watzka, Green Bay; James Watzka, Sobieski; Jean (Paul) Redmon, Columbus, Ohio; John Watzka (special friend Leslie), Green Bay; Joan (Peter) Jindra, Green Bay; nine grandchildren, Nicole and Chaz (Sara) Watzka, Ryley Watzka, Sydney Redmon, McKenzie (Jim) Schweitzer, Kylie (Matt) Carbol, Dylan (fiancée Brooke) Watzka, Zachary (Elaina) Jindra, and Morgan Jindra (special friend Evan); great-grandchildren, Brayden and Nevaeh Watzka; his brothers, Merle & Delores Watzka, Jerome Watzka, Tony & Karen Watzka, Mike & Mary Lou Watzka; his sister, Rosemary Stencil; sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, Bernadine Watzka, Dorothy Watzka, Cyril Cieslewicz, Elaine & Homer Granius; many nieces and nephews; other relative and friends.
Jerry was preceded in death by his wife, Marilyn Watzka; his parents, Joseph and Emma Watzka; father-in-law, Clarence Ledvina; mother-in-law, Mary Ledvina Ebeling; stepfather-in-law, Edward Ebeling; two sisters; Laverne Phillips, JoAnn Cieslewicz; sister-in-law, Mary Watzka; two brothers; Roger Watzka, Bernard Watzka; and one brother-in-law, Joseph Phillips.
Friends may call at Proko-Wall Funeral Home, 1630 E. Mason Street, on Monday from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. A Parish Wake Service will be held at 7:30 p.m. Friends may also call at St. Matthew Catholic Church, 130 St. Matthew Street, on Tuesday from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday at the church with the Rev. Robert Kabat officiating. Burial will be in All Saints Catholic Cemetery. On-line condolences may be given at www.prokowall.com.
The Watzka family would like to thank all the family and friends who have sent their prayers and well wishes for Jerry. Also, a special thank you to all of the wonderful caregivers who have helped Jerry and the family throughout the years.