Jerry Dale Bullard, 73, of Reedsburg, WI, passed away on Thursday, October 12, 2017, at St. Clare Meadows Care Center in Baraboo, WI.
Jerry was born September 2, 1944 in Booneville, Mississippi, the son of Nelson O. and Ailene Whitfield Bullard. Jerry married Patricia A. Ruda on July 9, 1977, in Pasadena, California, and they were blessed to enjoy forty fulfilling and joyful years together.
Jerry grew up in Pisgah and Rienzi, Mississippi and graduated from Rienzi High School. He began his college education at Northeast Mississippi Junior College and transferred to Mississippi State University in Starkville where he earned his B. S. degree in 1966. Following graduation he enlisted in the US Air Force and entered Officer’s Training School. He served until 1974, and his duties provided an opportunity to travel widely.
In 1974 he began his career as an Aerospace Engineer with TRW in Redondo Beach, a career that provided stimulating and challenging opportunities as he worked on several different company programs. During the early years, when the space program was still in its infancy, working on the design of a satellite through seeing it successfully launched at Cape Canaveral, FL was extremely exciting and rewarding. He retired from TRW in 2000 and valued the special friendships formed with his colleagues there.
Jerry enjoyed life with enthusiasm. He was curious about many things and pursued with full-on dedicated effort whatever undertakings he decided to take up, and they were many and varied. He became interested in photography, built his own darkroom, and free-lanced for a short time as a wedding photographer’s assistant. Jerry became interested in sailing, joined the TRW Sailing Club, and co-owned a sailboat upon which were enjoyed many sails around Redondo Beach, CA and to Catalina Island. He enjoyed cooking, immersed himself in culinary techniques and cuisines, and took pleasure in creating elaborate meals for friends and family. He taught himself to crochet and made blankets and Christmas tree decorations which were given to relatives and friends. Jerry was interested in air craft of all kinds. He built several radio-controlled model planes and joined a model glider flying club in Redondo Beach for weekly flying sessions. His interest in personal finance led him to become a certified tax preparer. He worked briefly with H & R Block during the tax seasons and later became an advisor in Turbo Tax’s on-line help forum. In 2006 Jerry and Pat moved from Redondo Beach, CA to the Baraboo, WI area and purchased a home in the country where Jerry enjoyed watching the birds and wildlife and where he took up gardening with typical intensity, including battles with that same wildlife that enjoyed eating his crops. He spent many hours in later years watching You Tube videos on cooking, gardening, and keyboard techniques and theory. He joined Facebook and took pleasure in sharing news and experiences with friends. Jerry enjoyed a life-long passion for organ music and learned to play as an adult. His dream, which he achieved, was to play a pipe organ, and he loved playing the pipe organ at church. For several years he also enjoyed playing the organ weekly at St. Clare Meadows in Baraboo during one of the lunch hours and for the weekly ecumenical service.
Jerry was a member of the Baraboo Fortnightly Literary Club and an active member of Baraboo First United Methodist Church where, in addition to playing the organ occasionally, he participated on various committees, played in the hand bell choir, and especially enjoyed the discussions in the adult Sunday School class.
Jerry will be remembered for his wry sense of humor, easy laughter, gentle and kind nature, love for his family and friends, his contentment with the simple pleasures of life, and his matter-of-fact way of meeting and accepting life’s joys and challenges. Former coworkers, friends and family will forever associate Jerry with his frequent use of the word, “Sigh,” which he found particularly apt for many circumstances.
Jerry was preceded in death by his parents, Nelson and Ailene, and by his sister, Billie Sue Bullard.
He is survived by his wife, Patricia, his sister Jackie (Jim) Johnson of Booneville Mississippi, his nephew Charles (Brittany) Lambert and great-niece Ava Margaret Lambert of Houston, Mississippi, and by several extended family members, nephews and nieces by marriage.
Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, October 17, 2017, at the First United Methodist Church of Baraboo, 615 S. Broadway St., with Pastor Marianne Cotter officiating. Interment will follow in Walnut Hill Cemetery where military rites will be conducted. Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. Monday, October 16, at Baraboo First United Methodist Church, and from 9:30 a.m. until the time of service at church on Tuesday.
Those who wish to remember Jerry may consider memorials to Baraboo First United Methodist Church which will be designated for use toward maintaining the church organ.
Jerry’s family wishes to express gratitude to his physician, Dr. Christopher Wenninger for his concern and care. We thank Pastor Marianne Cotter for her supporting presence, and we are most grateful to special friends Peter and Mary Ellen Murray for their immeasurable help and caring. The family thanks the staff of St. Clare Meadows for the care and concern provided to Jerry. Redlin Funeral Home of Baraboo, WI is assisting the family with arrangements.