Jerry Klockenkemper, affectionately known as “Papa”, lived a full and beautiful life. He passed peacefully in his home during the early morning hours of November 5, 2023. Jerry was born December 5, 1937, to Joseph and Emma Klockenkemper and was the youngest of nine children.
A devout Catholic and Christian, he attended St. Mary’s High School in Brussels, Illinos. He went to elementary school and junior high in his small village of Batchtown, Illinois. He enjoyed being an altar server, playing a lot of baseball, and exploring far and wide, while fishing and hunting with his brothers and childhood pals. He then went on to college at St. Ambrose University and later was accepted into the Naval Academy and progressed through the Naval Academy Officer Candidate School (OCS) — he earned Business and Engineering degrees, as well as achieved the honor to serve his country in the Vietnam War as a high ranking Naval Officer.
He began his career in the Chicago area, where he met my Mother, Virginia (Ginny) at the Great Lakes Officer’s Club and the rest, shall we say, is history. They were always happy and madly in love and enjoyed an almost 60-year marriage.
He worked as a manufacturing engineer and accomplished several important mechanical patents. He was a problem solver dedicated to analysis and finding resolutions. He was successful in every way and supported his wife Ginny, and children Rebecca and J.J. with whatever goals they set out to attain.
Jerry was a kind, compassionate, hardworking, fun man who loved his life and family immensely and always had a smile on his face. He loved to play cards (Bridge and Gin Rummy), hunt, fish, play golf back in the day, engage as an avid college football and basketball fan, cheer on the Indianapolis Colts and the Indy 500, meet new friends, and ultimately he loved being with his family the most — and he was a great dancer, with some serious “Fred Astaire” dance moves. He loved to dance at parties, weddings, and frequently at home!
Jerry is survived by his beloved daughter Rebecca; his daughter-in-law Christen and dear Mike; his wonderful grandchildren: Adeline, Joseph, Emma, Mark, Anna, and Zoe; as well as his two brothers and sisters-in-law Paul (Joan) Klockenkemper, John (Eula Mae) Klockenkemper, Evelyn Kovacevich; sister-in-law Marilyn Klockenkemper and sister-in-law Mitzi Johnson. He is also survived by numerous dear friends, neighbors, cousins, nieces, and nephews that will all miss him terribly.
Papa, we will miss you with all of our hearts. You were an amazing man! You were the person that was very much a rock in our family. You were the “go to” when life got tough, and always so happy to hear how life was going at any given time. Our hearts are broken, but we are forever grateful for your advice, your example as a husband and father and person. You were always kind and positive no matter what. Thank you for providing this beautiful life and we know we are better people because of you. We love you with all of our heart and soul, and it is so hard to say goodbye, but we know that you are safe with the Lord. Your grandchildren and all of us love you so much. We will forever keep you in our hearts and prayers, Papa!
A celebration of life will take place 3-6 p.m. Friday, November 24, 2023, at the “Grafton Winery the Vineyard” at 21028 Eckert Orchard Road, Grafton, Illinois. A funeral Mass will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, November 25 at St. Barbara’s Catholic Church in Batchtown, Illinois, with a Military Honors Burial and a luncheon following.
Flowers in memory of Jerry can be sent to Gress Kallal & Schaaf Funeral Homes, 207 South County Road, Hardin, Illinois 62047 or call 618/576-2718. Memorials can be made (for masses honoring and praying for Jerry and his family) to St. Alphonsus Liguori Catholic Church, Zionville, Indiana; St. Ambrose Catholic Parish, Godfrey, Illinois; St. John’s Catholic Parish, Rapids City, Illinois; or St. Barbara’s Catholic Parish and St. Barbara’s Catholic Cemetary, Batchtown, Illinois.