Jerome "Jerry" Yetter, passed away on the morning of Thursday, November 16th as the result of an horrific traffic accident. He was 76 years old.
The son of Wilbert George Yetter and Audrey (Jacobson), Jerry was born on October 22, 1947 in Marinette, WI. Adventurous and independent from an early age when, at 3 years old, he decided it was time to go to school and simply hiked the miles from the family farm to the Harneau School attended by his elder brother, Gerald. At age 4, his father had him driving tractor in the row crops. He was too small to turn the tractor around, but could keep it going in the rows. That worked well until the tractor hit a rut, jumped out of the row and tore out some fencing and a gate. Jerry's angry dad jumped on and unceremoniously tossed him from the tractor. His mom stepped in and put an end to tractor operation for a few years.
The family left the farm when his father began a career in quality home construction, Jerry accompanied his father to work and helped at first by simply cleaning up the job site but soon he too was heavily involved with the construction work. His skill level and responsibility advanced as his knowledge grew. By the time he was 11 the family had moved to Sugar Camp on Jennie Webber Lake in Northern Wisconsin, continuing the construction business. By then Jerry was laying as many concrete blocks as grown men and became foreman of one of his father's crews. He developed a strong work ethic and pride in accomplishments that defined his entire life. In college at UW Stevens Point he worked nights driving semi trucks delivering fresh bread to stores. Opportunity knocked and he was contracted to remodel the home of the Dean of Men, then the Dean of Women's house and eventually many other faculty houses.
His construction jobs (and playing Hearts at a penny a point) financed his college expenses until he listened to another calling and enlisted in the U.S.M.C., completing Officer Candidate School at Quantico, VA in 1966. He often commented that enlisting in the Marines with a war on was probably the dumbest thing he ever did, yet he took immense pride in his military service.
While visiting old friends at Stevens Point he was introduced to a little long haired blonde. He invited her to go for a ride on his dog sled, never knowing that she'd dreamed of experiencing that since childhood. On their second date the very next night, Jerry asked Sam to marry him and they eloped to Alaska.
Both Jerry and Sam have always been active with varied pursuits. Jerry earned his pilot's license, and operated an FBO. His Master Electrician's license led to becoming head of Montana's Electrical Safety Bureau and a member of the national code writing panel. Together they raised two boys, Matthew and Jeremy, born two years apart. The family raised Brown Swiss cattle and ran their own dairy. Jerry was extremely proud of both their sons, who each earned their Eagle rank as Lone Scouts under Jerry's watchful eye. Together with their sons, the family enjoyed hiking, biking, motorcycling, four wheeling, canoeing, white water rafting, camping and earned their skydiving licenses. They raised and trained horses, especially Paso Finos, and enjoyed turning young animals into willing partners in their escapades. Most of all, Jerry loved his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Jerry is preceded in death by Jeremy. He is survived by "Sam," Matthew (also a Dillon resident), brother Gerald, aunts Lettie Mae Thurrow and Jen Bhenke, as well as numerous cousins, nieces and nephews, and countless friends.
A small graveside ceremony with military honors will be held Wednesday, November 29th, 1:00 p.m. at Point of Rocks Cemetery south of Twin Bridges, MT. Post-service refreshments will be at First Presbyterian Church in Dillon. A Celebration of Life ceremony and festivities will be held at a to-be-determined date in the spring. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to Dillon Emergency Services or the Patriot Guard.