Jerry passed away peacefully at his home after a 3 ½ year battle with lung cancer. His wife, Phyllis and daughter, Jena were at his side at the time of his passing.
Jerry was born in Wood River, Illinois and adopted at birth by Walter and Opal Erwin of Harrisburg, Illinois. Jerry started his work career early, mowing yards and hopping curbs. He saved enough to buy a bicycle and Whizzer motor bike by the age of eleven. During his sophomore year of high school, Jerry started employment at Soward Harley-Davidson and worked there after graduating High School in 1952 until 1954.
Jerry married his wife Phyllis Baker on Oct 30, 1954 and they just celebrated 65 years of marriage. He then entered the US Army in November of 1954 where he was a mechanic. He was a member of the 82nd Airborne Division Paratroopers. Upon being honorably discharged from the Army, he enrolled at Southern Illinois University under a machine tool program. After graduation, he had a job waiting for him at the Uranium Enrichment Plant in Paducah, Kentucky. He was employed there for 5 years and at that time he purchased Soward Harley-Davidson from Neil and Ada Soward upon their retirement.
In 1970 he acquired the Honda dealership in Harrisburg and in 1972 the business name changed to Jerry’s Honda Sales. He remained in business there until his retirement in 1997 when he sold the business to two of his long time employees, David Hayes and Steve Hull. During his retirement, Jerry continued his hobbies and he and his wife did a lot of traveling, a lot of which was on motorcycle. He continued to ride motorcycles until last year. He enjoyed doing many projects for his church and for his family.
Jerry was preceded in death by his mother and father. Surviving are his wife, Phyllis Erwin of Harrisburg, Illinois; daughter, Jena (Mark) Oglesby of Galatia, Illinois; granddaughters, Amanda (Justin) Fetcho of Herrin, Illinois; and Kasey (Taylor) Vickery of Raleigh, Illinois; great-grandson, Paxton Fetcho and another baby boy Fetcho to be born in July.
Due to the current situation with the coronavirus, there will be a private funeral held. A memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to honor Jerry to the 1st United Methodist Church in Harrisburg or Hospice of Southern Illinois and sent to Reed Funeral Chapel in Harrisburg. Condolences may be left on the for the family on the obituary page at www.reedfuneralchapel.com.
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