Memorial services for Jerry Kopacek, of Donnelly, will be held on Saturday, November 5, 2022 at 10:30 a.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Donnelly, with Reverend Rochelle Anderson officiating. A Visitation will be one hour prior to services on Saturday. Burial will be at Vinger Cemetery, Donnelly.
“She’s dead, enough said” was the obituary Jerry wanted. But for the rest of us:
Jerry Maye (Harris) Kopacek was the fourth child born to Hamilton “Ham” and Anna (Hendrickson) Harris on September 24, 1930 in Morris, Minnesota. She was baptized and confirmed at First Lutheran Church and graduated from Morris High School in 1948.
As a guest at country school #69 year-end picnic, Jerry met John Oliver Kopacek. For John, it was love at first sight and he told his friends that day that he intended to marry her, but Jerry was not impressed. Eventually he won her over, even though his mother was amazed that someone was allowed to graduate high school without knowing how to milk a cow by hand. The two were married on February 28, 1949 by Reverend Sevig at his parsonage in Morris. To this union, three children were born: John, Jack, and Joan.
During their marriage the two mainly farmed. John also tended bar while Jerry worked several jobs including farm census worker, teacher’s aide in the Alberta School, and last as an assistant librarian in the Chokio-Alberta School. Also, through the years, she taught Sunday School, directed the church youth choir, sang in the adult choir, was president of the Steven County Genealogical Society, chaplain in the VFW Auxiliary, and helped with the Veteran Quilting.
Jerry enjoyed country living and spending time outside with her young children sledding, playing baseball, tag, and even mowing the large lawn with a push mower -- which was a testament to her strength as she had been badly injured in a 1958 car accident that left her struggling with her back and one knee the rest of her life.
In 1954, Jerry entered a contest in a magazine asking readers to write an essay on why they would like to win the materials to build the house featured in the ad. Jerry wrote in on the basis that, should she win, it would be a perfect house for the three generations that would inhabit the home. She ended up being chosen and the house was built in 1955.
Jerry and John would live together in the same home with their family until John’s passing on January 4, 1983. The couple were married for almost 34 years. Despite macular degeneration and word loss dementia, Jerry was able to stay in the home she proudly won up until just days before her passing. On November 1, 2022, Jerry passed away at Stevens Community Medical Center; she was 92 years old.
Jerry will be fondly remembered for her many good attributes, none of them involving her ability to cook or bake. She herself told people that she was blessed: first with a mother, then with a mother-in-law, then with a daughter who cooked so that she didn’t have to.
Left to cherish Jerry’s memory are her children: John Kopacek, Jack Kopacek, Joan Kopacek all of Donnelly. Honorary Granddaughter Jessalyn Marshall. Jerry was preceded in death by her parents Hamilton and Anna Harris; husband John Oliver Kopacek; two infant sisters; and brother Richard "Dick” Harris.