Gerald Van Norman passed away on Thursday, July 20, 2023, at Meadow Place Assisted Living at the age of 87. A visitation will be held from 5:00-7:00 PM on Thursday, July 27, 2023, at St. Mary of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Long Prairie. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 AM on Friday, July 28, 2023 at the church with visitation one hour prior to the service. Military Funeral Honors will be at the church following the service. Interment will be at St. Mary's Cemetery in Long Prairie.
Gerald “Jerry” Wayne Van Norman was born on May 29th, 1936 to Orville and Adonna Van Norman. As a young man Jerry met and proposed to the love of his life, Carol Gmeiner. He then enlisted in the Marine Corps and was stationed at Camp Pendleton in California. He came back on furlough and married, Carol. Fifteen months later their first child was born with seven more children to follow: 4 sons and 4 daughters would complete their family.
Jerry started his lifelong career as a mechanic working for his father-in-law, Lawrence Gmeiner, who was a very good teacher. Jerry eventually took over the Union 76 station from Lawrence. It turned out that Jerry had a great talent for working on anything mechanical. He was well known for his mechanical abilities and therefore became very popular in the small town of Long Prairie. He eventually brought his son Randy to work with him and J&R Auto Care was established.
Jerry also enjoyed being on his tractor doing farmwork. As he got older, he spent much of his free time in his mancave or “hooch” reading. He even ventured into baking bread and cookies. He was an animal lover who was passionate about the Golden Retrievers that he and Carol shared throughout the years. He was especially fond of his sweet Golden Retriever, Cassie. Jerry had a silly and a little bit of a “devilish” side to him. He liked to squeal his tires and take his kids and grandkids for some interesting, hair-raising drives. His sense of humor was a bit on the witty side, with “snarky” comments thrown in everywhere. Jerry’s love for fixing things continued into his later years when he thought he could continue to take apart and put back together lawnmowers and such. It turned out the taking apart skills were still there but the putting back together skill, not so much.
Jerry’s ability to love was his greatest attribute. He treasured all of his 8 children and 18 Grandchildren and loved them fiercely. He had an especially soft spot for his 4 daughters, whom he often referred to as “Babe.” This word will forever have a special meaning to them.
Jerry is survived by his loving wife, Carol, children: Scott (Sandy) Van Norman, Rick (Christine) Van Norman, Deb (Jamie) Wall, Randy Van Norman, Kristin (Ross) Hetland, Jennifer (Mike) Steinmentz, Amy (Curt) Judd and Jon Van Norman. Grandchildren: Danielle, Dustin, Kaylyn, Kjerstin, Samantha, Leah, Meagan, Mathew, Nicole, Amber, Jordyn, Taylor, Riley, Reece, Jace, Cole, Connor, and Caden, along with numerous Great Grandchildren. Siblings: Shirley Marcula, Larry Van Norman, Dale Van Norman, Joy Schooler, and Bruce Van Norman.
Jerry is preceded in death by his parents, Orville and Adonna Van Norman, and his sister, Jean Mathis.
Jerry will be greatly missed; his passing has left a void in all of our lives. He will live on in our hearts for eternity.