Gerald Roy Sheetz, 81 of Mount Joy, also known as “Jerry Sheetz,” husband, father, grandfather, funeral director and friend, died Friday evening, November 17, 2006 at Lancaster General Hospital after a valiant struggle with seven years of illness. Although he would not have considered himself a leader, he was elected president of his senior class and graduated from the former Mount Joy High School in 1943. He attended Franklin and Marshall College until he went to serve his country. A dedicated patriot, Jerry served in the U.S. Marine Corps, 1st Marine Div., 5th btn., Co. K. On April 1, 1945 he participated in the invasion of Okinawa, then under Japanese control. After the invasion and occupation, he was sent to China in October of that same year and left China in March 1946, being honorably discharged as corporal on April 11, 1946. His service in the Marine Corps greatly impacted Jerry’s life, setting the foundation for his active participation in veterans’ organizations including life memberships in the First Marine Div. Association, the China Marines Association, and the Mount Joy American Legion Post 185 where he served as Commander in 1956 and 1957. Additional life memberships include VFW Post 5752 Mount Joy, Disabled American Vets, and campaign member of the National Museum of the Marine Corps. in Washington DC. In dedication to fallen friends, he instituted the Mount Joy Memorial Day ceremonies in Memorial Park in 1962 and annually participated in Mount Joy Memorial Day activities.
After military service, he graduated from the former Eckels Mortuary School, Philadelphia, PA in 1949. Licensed in 1951 as a funeral director, he continued to serve the profession until his death as supervisor of Sheetz Funeral Home, Inc., Mount Joy. He owned and operated the Sheetz Real Estate firm and worked with the Ray N. Wiley Insurance Company of Mount Joy for thirty years.
A lifelong resident of Mount Joy, Jerry was born on April 21, 1925 in his family home. He was the son of the late Roy Bard Sheetz and Rebecca Siegrist Sheetz. A lifelong member of Trinity Lutheran Church, Jerry was a firm believer in civic duties as well. He was an active member and former president of the Mount Joy Lions Club, Mount Joy Helping Services, the Lancaster County Funeral Directors Association, and was a member of Casiphia Lodge, #551 Free and Accepted Masons, Mount Joy.
An ardent upland game hunter, he celebrated life through his love of the outdoors. He enjoyed nature and often described a frosty morning sunrise in the fields as “God’s greatest gift.” During his life long passion of hunting he was always accompanied by “bird dogs” Queenie, Babe, Sporty, and Carnella. He looked forward to spending at the beach where he loved to fish, a sport he shared with his children. Jerry cherished going to the family cabin in Mifflin Co. where he liked hunting, hiking and being with his family. A dedicated naturalist, he planted trees for which he will be remembered as a tree of life for his family.
Jerry married Mary Reich on September 10, 1949. They were married for fifty-seven years and raised five children. Together, they provided a model of friendship and caring to everyone they encountered.
He will be sadly missed by his wife Mary, and children, Dr. Jessica Ann Sheetz-Nguyen, married to Kenneth Minh Nguyen of Oklahoma City, OK; Judith Ann, married to Benjamin W. Piersol Jr., Mary S. married to Mark E. Lynam, Jonathan R. married to Donna McNamara Sheetz, and Christopher J. Sheetz, all of Mount Joy. His surviving grandchildren, Rebecca Ann Piersol and Benjamin W. Piersol III, Andrew, Ian, and Mary Lynam, and Peter, Stephen, and James Sheetz will also miss his daily presence. Mary and his children will remember that he provided us with a model of courage, valor, and strength, for which we are all eternally grateful. He was preceded in death by his granddaughter Rachel A. Piersol in 1987, and his late brother Richard A. Sheetz in March.
A Funeral Service honoring Jerry’s life will be held from Trinity Lutheran Church, 47 East Main Street, Mount Joy PA on Wednesday, November 22, 2006 with The Reverend Michael J. Martine, and The Reverend David E. Klepper Jr. officiating. Interment to follow in the Mount Joy Cemetery with Military Honors provided by the US Marine Corps Reserve. Friends may call at the Sheetz Funeral Home, Inc,. 16 East Main Street, Mount Joy, PA on Tuesday, November 21, from 3 to 7 PM. PLEASE NOTE: There will be no visitation at the church on Wednesday morning prior to the service. In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Jerry may be made to Trinity Lutheran Church, 47 West Main Street, Mount Joy PA 17552, or to Mount Joy Helping Services, Inc., 1155 East Main Street, Mount Joy PA 17552.
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