Gerald (Jerry) Ray Prettyman, 87, of Alexandria, MN lost his battle with prostate cancer on September 4, 2023, at St Williams Living Center in Parkers Prairie, MN
Gerald (Jerry) Ray Prettyman was born November 10, 1935, in Minneapolis, MN, the son of Jerome (Jerry) Hersch and Ella Alvina (Betty) (nee Beckman) Ward. He was adopted by Roy Prettyman. Jerry moved to the Verndale -Wadena area where he grew up helping on Roy and Betty’s farm taking care of the cattle and sheep, working in the fields, and learning how to make repairs on the farm machinery. Due to having to work on the farm, he was only able to attend through the 10th grade.
He left home to serve in the Navy in 1954 where he was baptized and able to finish his schooling. He served as a seaman aboard the USS Valley Forge CVS45 receiving the United Nations Service Medal (Korea) and later a Good Conduct Award. He continued his education attending Naval Hospital Corps School in Portsmouth, Virginia. He was then stationed at the Navy Hospital Bethesda where he met the love of his life, a Navy Hospital Corp WAVE, Mildred (Millie) Ridenour. They were married on November 30, 1956, at USNH Bethesda Chapel. After his discharge, Jerry became a lifelong member of the VFW and the American Legion.
Jerry and Millie were blessed with two children, Gerald (Jerry) Jr. and Sue. They moved to Minneapolis and he started his career in medical equipment sales with Aloe Medical. They transferred him to Huron, S.D., where he started traditions of family fishing, hunting with friends, and cross-country vacations with his family, including the 1964-65 World’s Fair. During his time with Aloe Medical, he continued his training and received the Diamond Sales Award for reaching one million dollars in sales. He would often go into the operating room to train physicians how to use medical devices during surgery. He was transferred to Duluth where he enjoyed taking his young son smelt fishing. The family moved to Cloquet, MN where Jerry was promoted to Branch Manager for the Burdick Corporation in the sales of physical therapy and electronic medical devices.
Along the way, Jerry enjoyed many opportunities to meet, train, and work with thousands of medical professionals. His commitment, hard work and genuine caring of the people he worked with as he traveled between the Mid-West and Canada earned him many sales awards throughout all of his career. He believed in treating clients as he would like to be treated, treating the company you worked for like your own, and most importantly, keeping a good attitude.
His career took the family to Apple Valley, MN in 1970, then onto Alexandria in 1977 to enjoy the lake life, boating in the ‘Ellen Ray’ – the middle names of his wife, himself, and his children.
Jerry joined the Garvey Company and was promoted to Vice President of Sales in 1996. Jerry was inducted into the South Dakota Physical Therapy Hall of Fame in 1995 and 2000 and awarded for Excellence and a Friend of Physical Therapist in North Dakota.
In the early 1980’s, Jerry and Millie had also opened their own local home care and oxygen rental company. In 2000, he launched his own medical and physical therapy equipment dealership, JP Services, that allowed him to continue to serve his clients for almost two decades, before retiring at age 83.
Jerry’s skills included fixing not only medical equipment but just about anything mechanical, including the many cars he restored and sold over the years, including Mustangs, a 1947 Chevrolet Sedan Delivery Street Rod, and “My Last One”. He was a member of the Vintage Car Club for over 25 years. He appreciated all of the wonderful friendships he made and enjoyed cruising with them. He loved lending a hand in the car shows they participated in. Jerry was a perfectionist when it came to restoring his classic autos and earned many show trophies for his work.
Ever a people person, he loved spending time with his family and friends. He was a master story teller and often entertained those around him with jokes and personal tales. He was generous and always willing to help and share what he had. Jerry enjoyed hunting, fishing, spending time on the lake, snowmobiling, and working on his “toys”. Hardly ever missing a game, he loved cheering on his grandchildren and their teammates in their golf and hockey games. Friends and family could always count on a big hug from him.
Jerry is survived by his wife, Millie; his son, Gerald (Hathi) Prettyman Jr of Pleasanton, CA.; his daughter, Sue (Ted) Justice of Alexandria, MN; 3 grandchildren, Kevin Justice of Fairfield, Iowa, David (Chelsey) Justice of Alexandria, MN, and Danielle (Ryan) Strayer of Queenstown, New Zealand; 3 great-granddaughters, Imogen, Emilia, and Isabelle. He is also survived by his half-sister, Dyan (Sheldon) Goodman and many beloved relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his beloved aunts and uncles whom he tirelessly assisted during his life, his half-sister Nancy (Ray) Todd, and half-brother James Hersch.
Jerry shared his gift of love as a husband, father, son, and brother. He bettered our world and lives. To honor him, we will have a Celebration of Jerry’s Life at the Grand Arbor Community Room on September 24 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM.
Per his wishes, his remains will be cremated and interred at Kinkead Cemetery.