Gherald (Jerry) Ray Fredericks, at 75 years of age, went to live with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on September 3rd, 2022, in the midst of ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or Lou Gehrig's Disease).
Jerry was born on May 22, 1947 to Floyd Fredericks and Phyllis Baker Fredericks in Stanley, North Dakota. He joined a sister, Connie Lea and later became big brother to Sidney Eugene. After his parents' divorce and remarriages, another brother joined the family, Robert Lee Joe Bosley II. Jerry's father's new marriage gave him two more sisters, Christine and Corby.
During many family moves, including to Idaho and back to Kalispell, Jerry attended various area schools where he made lifelong friends. Jerry never learned the definition of "stranger" - there weren't any in his life. Growing up, Jerry also had the privilege of spending his summers in his mother's home town of Parshall, North Dakota. Here he was able to live with his many cousins as brothers and sisters. The family's final move was in 1960 to Valley Drive in Kalispell.
This neighborhood had several kids his age, but his eye was on a young gal, who was also in his 6th grade class at Cornelius Hedges. He made a point to walk to school with her as much as possible. Her brother Ken also had a motorcycle which kept his interest in spending time with Ken, and keeping his eye on someone in that household. After pursuing all the possibilities of young girls in Junior High and High School, he decided to go back to his first choice, Leola Kaufman. She and her family had a big influence on his spiritual walk with the Lord Jesus. At 17, Jerry asked Jesus to take away his sin and become one of God's children. Not growing up in a church going family, Jerry found a new connection in the youth group of about 60 kids and supportive adults. During this time his relationship with Leola became more solid and they were married at the end of 1966.
Jerry pursued a meat cutting career and was able to receive a journeyman's card under the influence of another great man, Jesse Eayrs. Jerry knew the draft board would send him a letter for military service at the culmination of his meat cutting school. They sent letters to all young men 18 years old and older who were not in school and had no children to serve in the Armed Forces. Immediately upon receiving one of these letters, Jerry went straight to the naval recruiter and asked for duty in Naval Aviation. Passing all his tests with flying colors allowed him to join the service area he wanted. After signing enlistment papers, he found out that he would soon be a father. Cory joined the ranks to bring much delight to the family. Jerry would soon learn to operate the instruments for detecting submarines. He flew on and off the Ticonderoga and many other carriers, giving him 4 busy and enjoyable years. He also volunteered to go to Viet Nam when asked to go support our forces there.
At the end of his 4 years of service to his country, the 4 seasons of Montana were calling his name. Jerry worked at several types of work after he returned home from his military duty. This included meat-cutting, radiator repair, real estate sales, car sales, and driving an 18 wheeler. His desire to be free of the of the structure of the military took him to the mountains with a rifle, and fishing pole.
Jerry hunted successfully with his horses for many years riding in and packing out. He even bagged a whitetail buck in the 2021 season. With his health failing, he knew it would be his last chance, so he pushed himself to fulfill his hunting bucket-list. With the help of his sister-in-law, Shirley, her husband, Bob and his brother-in-law Ken, he once again brought home his wild game.
Jerry loved fishing as well as hunting and was able to continue catching fish for several more trips. He continually out fished those who had joined him for the day. When someone caught more than he did there was always the reminder with a chuckle, "You know, when you out-fish the boat owner you don't get asked again!" And then to be found out with the same fellows next time, most notably his best friends John Stefanatz, Chris Miller, and Craig Mackey. After all, John was the one who taught Jerry to fish in the first place.
Jerry had a deep love for his home in Kalispell. The house was located where a lot of wild life roamed. He was so excited to see the baby deer in the spring and watch them all summer as their spots began to fade. Jerry never lost his desire to "hunt". Now he kept his eye on windows to see the deer, raccoons, fox, and birds perusing through his yard. God made them for us to enjoy and enjoy he did.
Jerry was preceded in death by his Mother Phyllis and Stepfather, Bob; Father Floyd and Stepmother, Barbara; and younger brother Rob.
He is survived by his wife, Leola, son Cory, (Amy), sisters Connie, Christine, Corby (Aaron), brother Sidney (Shawn), sister in-law-Debbie Bosley, father-in-law Joe Kaufman at 99 years young, also many sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, cousins, and many dear friends.
Services will be held at Aletheia Christian Fellowship, 330 North Somers Road in Kalispell on Saturday, September 10th at 1:00 PM, followed by a light luncheon in the fellowship hall with time for your memories and stories of Jerry. At 3:00, we will caravan/carpool to the Boat Launch area on Ashley Lake for the spreading of his ashes.
The family is being cared for by Pastor Scott Keller of Aletheia Christian Fellowship and the Buffalo Hills Funeral Home. Friends are encouraged to visit our website at www.buffalohillfh.com to leave notes of condolences for the family.