Gerald Albert Doornenbal was born November 14, 1926 to John and Albertha Doornenbal, who were Dutch Immigrants. He joined his sisters Geritje, Johanna, Betty and Madelyn. His two brothers, Johnnie and Frankie died before he was born, but his mother believed that they would have another son. Jerry was cherished as the promised one. Jerry was raised on the East side of Lynden, and spent his childhood fishing the Fishtrap Creek, hunting birds in the Slough, traipsing the railroad tracks to the hobo camps, getting to know the gypsies who passed through, and exploring the abandoned camps of the Nooksacks which were still defined by their clearings. He was an independent, free spirit who learned to work at any job he could get to take care of himself. At the age of 16, Jerry was hired by Ernie Rutgers to haul potatoes to Eastern Washington. He could hardly believe the good fortune of being paid to do something that he enjoyed so much. Jerry attended Lynden Christian Grade School and Lynden High School. He graduated with the class of 47 after dropping out of school to work during the war. He loved playing football in the era of leather helmets and was outstanding in the pole vault. As a gifted tenor he enjoyed crooning in a quartet with his buddies and singing at weddings. In 1947, Jerry married Rosalie Headrick. They had four children: Joel, Terri, Scott, and Lisa. In the early 1950's Jerry drove for Milky Way hauling milk to Seattle dairies. Jerry was one of Lynden Transfer's original Alcan drivers who began hauling freight to Fairbanks in 1954. In 1960 Jerry started Lynden Ready Mix, with one used mixer truck that he loaded by hand with 90# bags of cement. He owned and operated the company with the employees he revered for the next thirty years, during which time he partnered with and mentored numerous others to start their own businesses. Jerry married Heidi Jansen in 1978. They shared a love of family, friends, history, politics, and travel. In 1983-89 they built and operated Slidewaters @ Lake Chelan, and in 2012-16 he was instrumental in helping to found the Jansen Art Center in Lynden. Jerry's greatest pleasure was living on the Farm in Echo Valley on the Silver Lake Road in Maple Falls, and spending time there with his treasured family. Music was the rhythm of Jerry's life, whether he was whistling, harmonizing with his Fiji Four quartet, or singing with family. Jerry was a kind, humble soul who inspired those who knew him with his cheerful, giving, loving disposition. He enjoyed life with a sense of gratitude. Jerry died on February 6th 2016. He is survived by his sister Madelyn Haley; children; Joel (Connie Blankers), Terri (John Rosie), Scott (Sandy Souter), and Lisa (Kip Wayerski); wife, Heidi, and her children; Brad Williamson (Eyvonne) and Amy (Dave Seaman); 15 Grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. A celebration of Jerry's life will be held 3:00 PM on Saturday, February 20th at the United Methodist Church at Main and 14th St. in Lynden. Visitation will be from 1 to 5 PM on Thursday, February 18th at Gillies Funeral Home. You are invited to share your condolences and memories online at www.gilliesfuneralhome.com
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GILLIES FUNERAL HOME, INC - Lynden
202 FRONT ST
Lynden, WA 98264
Published in Bellingham Herald from Feb. 10 to Feb. 14, 2016