Joseph Jerry Klich native of Newport News and lately of Richmond Virginia passed away after 81 years of happiness on July 8, 2019.
He was the youngest of three brothers including race car driver Henry and rocket scientist Phil. He managed to survive past childhood despite his penchant for jumping out of windows while announcing that he was Superman and “I am the king!”
His brothers were also his best friends right up until they were separated, first by the death of Henry, then by his own. He shared a tearful goodbye with remaining brother Phil who made a long midnight trip to see him only hours before his passing.
He was a star football and track player at Warwick High school and later at University of Richmond where he graduated with the class of 1960. He has remained close friends with his teammates to this day.
He was honorably discharged as Captain from the US Army Reserves in 1968.
He met his wife of 54 years, Thelma, on a blind date. She decided she wasn’t going to go out with him again because he abandoned her to watch the big game. Then he wisely sent her a Valentine’s Day card and won her over. They married on Boxing Day 1964. Among his last words were that Thelma was the most perfect person he had ever known.
After college Jerry got a job with State Farm Insurance the excitement of which paled in comparison to his true calling of selling Christmas Trees just like his big brothers. Notably, the only time Jerry was ever seen angry was when the city forced him to remove the tree lot’s sign, possibly at the behest of a rival tree lot.
He is survived by two sons, Brent and Brock. He spent most of the waking hours of their youth delivering them and their lawn mowers to dozens of customers and to soccer games all over the East coast, without ever a complaint. The two days they got their driver’s licenses were among the happiest of his life.
For decades, he and Thelma hosted huge Christmas dinners for extended family, friends and often near strangers because that’s just what they did. His dinner blessing never left out those who had gone before us, those who could not be present, those who fought to protect and defend our great country, and a final request to bless the food so that all present could do God’s will.
Despite initial fears that his boys might never give him grandchildren, he was the proud grandfather of five: Cara, Courtney, Grace, Erin, and Grant.
Grace nearly killed her mother for the first time during during her traumatic delivery. Emblematic of his concern for others, upon arriving at the hospital, Jerry went first to check on mom before going to see his new grandbaby.
He retired after 38 years from State Farm Insurance and watching Bob Barker on the Price is Right while eating Thelma’s leftovers for lunch. Every.single.day.
Jerry died after a brief battle with cancer. He never gave up hope and never stopped praying, not for himself but for everyone he was leaving behind, including his church and it’s entire congregation.
A graveside service will be held noon Friday, July 12 at Peninsula Memorial Park, 12750 Warwick Boulevard in Newport News. A reception will follow nearby at Reformation Lutheran Church, 13100 Warwick Boulevard, Newport News, Virginia, 23606.
A memorial service and reception will also be held in Richmond at Saint Mark’s United Methodist Church, 11551Lucks Lane, Midlothian, VA 23114 on July 21st at 4 p.m.
Please send donations in lieu of flowers in his memory to St Mark’s UMC or Reformation Lutheran at the addresses above.
Date: Friday, July 12, 2019
Time: 12:00 pm
Peninsula Memorial Park
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