Gerald R. “Jerry” Bertelson


Jerry Bertelson of rural Missouri Valley passed away peacefully on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 at the Longview Memory Lane Care Center from complications of Alzheimer’s Disease.           .
Gerald “Jerry” Richard Bertelson was born at home in Willow Park, Missouri Valley, Iowa on August 20, 1930 to Danish and Norwegian parents James Christian and Lily Dagney Bertelson. The fifth of nine children he was surrounded by family and it remained a cornerstone of his life. From an early age he worked with younger brother Jack at the family business, The Valley Mill. In school he lettered in every sport including track, basketball and a football team that went to state. He also played French horn in the band and was in the first All-State vocal chorus. He was graduated from Missouri Valley High School in 1948.

In 1950 he joined the US Navy and served as a Photographers’ Mate Second Class in San Diego, Korea and Hawaii. He was aboard the USS Essex, an aircraft carrier, in the VF-54 Fighter Squadron and attended their annual reunions until they disbanded. He left the Navy in 1954 with enough stories for a lifetime.

In 1953 with brothers Gene and Jack he bought The Valley Mill and upon his return from the Navy started selling fertilizer and chemicals. For many years they also built grain storage bins in the off season and into his 80’s Jerry could still identify those bins on drives around the county.
In the 1950’s Jerry and Jack formed the Valley Fertilizer Company. This was when anhydrous ammonia came into general use and greatly boosted crop yields. This, combined with improved farm chemicals, led to the green revolution and a thriving business. Valley Fertilizer was a business but also a social gathering place for farmers, and many winter days concluded with card games around large round wooden table. Jerry and Jack also farmed together and continued this operation after selling the fertilizer business in 1992. The brothers learned good business sense from their father Jim, who had a variety of successful concerns, and applied this principal in their business life.

In 1955 Jerry married Janice Marlene Powell and they had two sons Christian Dale in 1958 and Kyle Mitchell in 1962. They lived in a big, brown, four-square house on the old Frazier farm 3 miles east of town.
In 1974 Jerry built a prefabricated Wick home south of town and lived there for the next 44 years. It was his pride and joy and he loved taking care of his house, his yard and his garden. In 1984 he married the love of his life, Sharon Irene Dague. She remained his “Comrade Cutie” for the rest of his life. They were married over 33 years.

Jerry served on the Missouri Valley Volunteer Fire Department for over 10 years, a lifetime member of the VFW and a 55-year member of the American Legion Post 337. He was a lifelong member of the Missouri Valley United Methodist Church. He was in the Fraternal Order of Eagles for 38 years and thanks to Sharon was completely stunned by a surprise birthday party there when he turned 70.



The travel bug bit Jerry at an early age and he was never cured. The Bertelsons always went to Bemidji, Minnesota in the summer and Jerry went north for 81 of his 87 years. It is a magical place and a wonderful time to enjoy family and the great outdoors. With Sharon he bought a 5th wheel camper and pulled it all over the western US and Canada. Up and down snowy mountain passes and across scorching deserts they trekked and accumulated memories and stories of punctured tires, flooded campers and overflowing awnings. They took 5 cruises including one through the Panama Canal and as snowbirds went to Phoenix every winter for 32 years. Many fine hours were spent taking pictures of desert sunsets and sipping Jerry’s special “Iced tea”.

Jerry and Sharon liked to entertain and hosted many class reunion parties at their Iowa home and invited friends to visit them in Arizona. They made friends everywhere they went from lumbermen in Canada to neighbors in Florida and anyone they sat next to in an Eagles club.

From his father and Uncle Charlie, Jerry learned a love of fishing and duck hunting. He played golf, water skied, snow skied and enjoyed swimming and boating. He had a great appetite for Louis L’Amour novels and just about any western in print or on TV. He liked to watch movies and liked anything with John Wayne. He always liked to read and rarely sat down without reaching for a magazine or USA Today.

Because of his good nature Jerry was darned good company. From liar’s dice to battleship or just a rubber band fight, he was ready to play. He loved cards and played pitch, casino and pass the ace. He liked doing card tricks. Jerry loved music and could sing and harmonize naturally. He enjoyed playing the ukulele, piano and harmonica. He liked to play tricks on his co-workers and got as good as he gave. He loved a good laugh and relished the opportunity to tell a good joke. His punch line timing was perfect. He was also known to repeat some favorite jokes on occasion. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

Jerry is survived by his wife, Sharon; sons, Chris (Laura) Bertelson of Winterset and Kyle of Missouri Valley; step-son, Randy (Cindy) Dague and step-daughter, Lynda (Earl) Clark of Council Bluffs; grandchildren, Lizzy, Carri, Christan and Kati Bertelson, Kylie Bertelson Lorenzen, John Beam, Bobby, Christopher and Michael Dague, Troy and Jennifer Ross; four great grandchildren; siblings, Lucille (Bob) Anderson of Minneapolis, brother-in-law Clyde Kleager of Scotts Bluff, Jack (Eloise) Bertelson of Missouri Valley, Carole Liljedahl of Missouri Valley, Jo Ann (Glen) Sherwood of Hermosa, South Dakota, and Judy (Neil) Stessman of Fort Lupton, Colorado, and many cousins, nieces and nephews.

Jerry was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Gene Bertelson; sister-in-law, Trish Bertelson; sister, Thordis Kleager; brother-in-law Lenus Liljedahl; and infant sister, Beverly June.

Visitation Sunday February 25th from 2-4PM at the Hennessey Funeral Home, 310 East Huron Street, Missouri Valley.  Funeral Service 11:0o a.m. Monday, February 26, 2018 at the United Methodist Church 308 E. Superior, Missouri Valley   and a Luncheon  at the Eagles Club, 118 S 5th, Missouri Valley  after the committal service at the cemetery. 



In Loving Memory Of


Gerald Richard “Jerry” Bertelson



August 20, 1930                          Willow Park, Missouri Valley, Iowa


Entered Into Rest

February 21, 2018                                             Missouri Valley, Iowa


Funeral Service

11:00 a.m. Monday, February 26, 2018

United Methodist Church

Missouri Valley, Iowa


Officiating                                                     Pastor Gideon Gallo

Organist                                                                          Kris Gash

Vocalists                                     Mike Liljedahl and Brit Liljedahl


Congregational Selections

“Amazing Grace” #378            “Blest Be the Tie That Binds” #557


Vocal Selection

“Wind Beneath My Wings”


Honorary Bearers

Kim Bertelson                                                       Denny Osborn

Neil Stessman                                                       Tom Bertelson

Jennifer Ross                                                     Carri Bertelson

Christan Bertelson                                                Kati Bertelson


Casket Bearers

Nick Bertelson                                                       Bobby Dague

Lizzy Bertelson                                                   Michael Dague

Noah Bertelson                                             Christopher Dague


Final Resting Place

Oak Grove Cemetery

Missouri Valley, Iowa


Military Honors will be conducted by Julius F. Muller American Legion Post #337.



  • SJ Posted February 23, 2018 3:12 pm

    Friend for many years

  • Marjorie Stirttzz Posted February 23, 2018 3:33 pm

    I have known Jerry for several years and always found him to very friendly and willing to help if something needed to be done. I send condolences to all of his family. marge stirtz

  • Cynthia miller and family Posted February 23, 2018 4:13 pm

    Sorry for your loss Sharon he will truly be missed and my grand boys will always remember Jerry with the cane

  • Smarrion & Judy blunt Posted February 23, 2018 4:42 pm


  • Don Huebner Posted February 23, 2018 7:17 pm

    That is most beautiful tribute I have ever read. What a full life he had.

    • Avis Liljedahl Posted February 24, 2018 6:10 pm

      Thanks Don, Uncle Jerry was a fun guy.♡ him

  • Pam Thompson Posted February 23, 2018 7:49 pm

    Jerry will be missed by all that knew him. What a wonderful man so glad I could call him my friend. RIP Jerry

  • Patty Niedermyer Posted February 24, 2018 1:10 am

    So Very Very Sorry.
    Prayers Prayers
    Love ❤️ And Hugs ?To All.

  • Janice Ricks Schneiderman Posted February 24, 2018 7:19 pm

    My deepest sympathy to the Bertelson Family.

  • Christina Sawhill and Charlie and Connie Waite Posted February 25, 2018 6:58 am

    So sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers to all of you. Charlie and Connie Waite and family

  • Kent & Dixie Thomas Posted February 25, 2018 10:14 am

    I really miss those rainy afternoons spent sitting in Jerry’s office fixing the world’s problems,catching up on the latest local news, listening to a story or two about his time in the Navy, and many other topics. He was truly one of a kind.

  • Pat Reyes Posted February 25, 2018 3:57 pm

    Sharon, so sorry for your lost. Jerry will be greatly missed he was always a ray of sunshine. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  • Becky Yager Posted February 26, 2018 11:21 am

    Sharon and family
    So sorry for your loss … WHAT A GUY so many fond memories
    throughout the years! He was truly one of the most fun- living people I have known! He was a priceless treasure?

  • Becky Yager/ Doug Bolliger Posted February 26, 2018 11:22 am

    Sharon and family
    So sorry for your loss … WHAT A GUY so many fond memories
    throughout the years! He was truly one of the most fun- living people I have known! He was a priceless treasure?

  • joan bonham Posted February 27, 2018 4:18 pm

    so sorry for your loss, prayers with you. Jerry was a great guy.

  • Daniel Bond Posted February 27, 2018 4:42 pm

    To the family of a good friend for many years. Glad to have be able to know Jerry and his family. .Sorry for your loss. God Bless Danny Bond & John Bond

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