Thief River Falls – Jerry Altendorf, of Thief River Falls, passed away on Wednesday, August 31, 2022 in Thief River Falls, at the age of 75.
Jerry Allen Altendorf was born on April 2, 1947 in Warren, to Gerald and Marjorie (Beaudry) Altendorf. He was baptized and confirmed in the Catholic faith. Jerry’s youth was spent on the family farm west of Karlstad. He graduated from Karlstad High School in 1965. Following high school, Jerry attended the AVTI in Thief River Falls, graduating from Carpentry I and II.
Jerry entered the U.S. Army on December 7, 1967. After Infantry Training he proceeded straight to Vietnam where he served with A Co, 2/5th, 1st Cav, Air Mobile “Lean Apache.” Jerry was awarded the Bronze Star Medal along with the Army Commendation Medal with “V” Device for heroism in connection with military operations against a hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. As recorded, Specialist Four Altendorf, while serving as an ammunition bearer during an enemy attack in Vietnam, exposed himself to the hostile barrage as he moved to his squad’s mortar pit. While proceeding to the position four crewmembers were wounded. With complete disregard for his own safety, he remained in the contact area and assisted in moving the four wounded to a rear position. His heroic actions undoubtedly saved the lives of several wounded comrades. His display of personal bravery and devotion to duty is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
On September 11, 1971 Jerry married Yvonne Bluemke in Oklee. They were blessed with Jeremy, Jenny, and Jessica. Yvonne passed away on October 31, 1986.
On October 19, 1990 Jerry was married to Jill-Ann Holmstrom and with her two daughters, Heather and Jenny, made their “blended family” that was always #1 priority for Jerry.
Jerry worked for Woodmen Construction for 30+ years and the past 25 years, through Woodmen, had been contracted to Digi-Key here in Thief River Falls.
Jerry served as past Post Commander of the VFW Post #2793 and past President of the Eagles Aerie #2368, both in Thief River Falls. Jerry was a member of the American Legion Post #117 in Thief River Falls, Knights of Columbus Council #4619 in Thief River Falls, the Agassiz Rod and Gun Club in Newfolden, and the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association.
Auctions were Jerry’s pastime. Working with Ron McKercher and Mick Rapacz has kept his pastime busy and very interesting, and Jerry wouldn’t have had it any other way. In his leisure time he was an avid car racing fan, attending races every Friday and Saturday night. He would occasionally squeeze in time for hunting and fishing.
Family was Jerry’s top priority. He never missed anything the kids or grandkids were involved in, from horse shows, bike racing, football, basketball, trap shooting, to softball. He enjoyed teaching all the kids how to fish, hunt, use a hammer and screwdriver, and build 4-H projects.
You would find it very hard to find a man as loving, kind, helpful, trustworthy, loyal, selfless, and devoted to his family and friends.
Jerry is survived by his wife, Jill; son, Jeremy; daughters, Jenny Lee, Jessica (Bryan) Bolstad, Heather (Terry) Overbye-Helm, and Jenny (Jeremy Pankow) Overbye; grandchildren, Haley, Quinten, Blaine, Bridger, Jeraldine, Trenton, Jocelin, Kylee, and Jaegar; 7 great-grandchildren; sister, Lisa Altendorf; brothers, Wayne (Brigid) Altendorf, Jeff Altendorf, and Stuart Altendorf; along with numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, relatives, and friends.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Yvonne; and his parents, Gerald and Marjorie Altendorf.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 7, 2022 at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church in Thief River Falls, with Msgr. Timothy McGee presiding. Due to renovations, please use designated entrances upon arrival at the church.
Visitation took place on Tuesday, September 6, 2022 at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church in Thief River Falls. The Rosary was led by the Knights of Columbus. Visitation will also be held one hour prior to Mass on Wednesday at the church.
Interment will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, September 9, 2022 at the St. Hilaire Community Cemetery in St. Hilaire.
Condolences may be sent at www.johnsonfuneralservice.com.