Edwin Gerald Teel
Born, June 19, 1941
Died, Wednesday, January 24, 2018, age 76, in Shoreline, WA
Lincoln High School, Class of 1959
Seattle Pacific University 1963
President, Vitamilk Dairy
Jerry Teel was born, June 19, 1941, in Seattle, Washington to Ed and Polly Teel. Jerry married the love of his life, Katherine "Kathi" Huddle, in Harrington, Washington, on June 19, 1965. Jerry and Kathi have three children, Kimberly Feir, Molly (Arne) Oien, Julie (Andrew) Cain. Jerry is survived by his wife and three daughters, seven grandchildren Erik and Kyle Oien, Katelyn and Laura Feir, Alex, Jonathon and Zachariah Cain, as well as his sister, Claudia Vander Pol, and brother, Charles Teel.
Jerry attended Lincoln High School in Seattle, Washington, and graduated in 1959. He then attended Seattle Pacific College, graduating with a Bachelors Degree in Economics and Business in 1963. After college, Jerry was drafted into the Army and served for two years during the Vietnam War. Upon his completion of military service, Jerry married Kathi, and rejoined the family business, Vitamilk Dairy.
Quality Always. This was the slogan of Vitamilk Dairy, and for Jerry, "Quality Always" reflected much more than a business philosophy, but a way of life in family, friendships, faith, and business.
Jerry's business savvy, compassionate managerial style, and troubleshooting abilities ensured his rise within Vitamilk. Jerry began work at Vitamilk at age 12 in facilities maintenance. He worked in the plant through college, often 16 hours a day, learning the business. After serving in the Army, Jerry rose quickly into management at Vitamilk, soon overseeing production and distribution. In 1974 Jerry was named President and General Manager of the company and led the growth of Vitamilk for 30 years. Jerry's reputation throughout the business community was one of honesty and integrity. Jerry was hands-on and exacting. He took great pride in the quality and integrity of Vitamilk products, and their high level of customer service. Even when annual sales reached $50 million, Jerry never forgot the human side of business. He treated his employees with respect and concern. He ate lunch with them and wasn't afraid to get his hands dirty. Jerry was a leader nationally in the dairy industry, serving on boards including Quality Chekd Dairies, Inc. He also served his local community as a member of Shoreline Rotary for more than 30 years.
Jerry brought the same level of passion, integrity and commitment into his family. Jerry and Kathi Teel were lovingly married for 52 years. They raised three daughters, partnered in business, built community and traveled the world. Their marriage is marked with great love, fun laughter, deep friendships, generosity, and adventure. Their home was always warm and open, welcoming friends, facilitating relationships, and loving those around them. Jerry supported his children in all of their endeavors and showered them with love, resulting in close friendships with each as adults.
Above all, Jerry loved Jesus. He followed Christ all of his life and gently welcomed others to join him. He loved to invite friends and neighbors to Church and help them get plugged into the Sunday School Class that was just right for them. Jerry and Kathi were active participants and leaders in the Samaritan Class at First Free Methodist Church for more than 50 years, serving Jesus, raising their families together, and growing the Kingdom of God. Jerry served on the Board of Trustees at FFMC for many years. He gave generously to all those in need who crossed his path and prioritized people over all else throughout his life. He loved well.
Jerry believed deeply in the mission of Christian Higher Education. He served and supported his alma mater, Seattle Pacific University, all of his adult life, serving on the Board of Trustees, founding the E. Gerald
and Katherine Teel School of Economics and Business Scholarship Endowment, coor-dinating a partnership between SPU and the Teel Charitable Foundation, sponsoring sporting events such as SPU Basketball's Vitamilk Classic, etc. Jerry and Kathi were named Seattle Pacific University's Alumni of the Year in 2006.
Jerry loved to fish. He loved to hunt. He loved to ski. He loved to build and fix. He loved to spend time "doing" with those he loved.
We will miss "doing" life together.
There will be a Memorial Service to honor Jerry at 3:00pm Sunday, January 28, at First Free Methodist Church, 3200 3rd Ave W., Seattle, WA.
In lieu of flowers, please direct gifts to the Seattle Pacific University School of Business.
To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store
Published by The Seattle Times from Jan. 24 to Jan. 28, 2018.