Jerry Tusler, age 79, passed away Friday morning, Jan. 21, 2011, of a massive heart attack as he was leaving his house to go to work.
Jerry was born south of Terry on Feb. 24, 1931, the eldest child and only son of Delpha (Dife McAtee) and Sheldon (Shot) Tusler. He attended schools in Terry, graduating from Terry High School in 1949. In his junior year of high school, Jerry was chosen as a delegate to The American Legion Boy's State the second year of its existence, an honor Jerry was very proud of.
Jerry married Patricia Manning on Sept. 30, 1956 in North Dakota. To this union, four children were born: Melinda, Cindy, Bill and Scott. Jerry and Pat ranched and farmed the Empey Ranch south on Terry. They later divorced.
On Dec. 31, 1975, Jerry married Joan Tenderholt in Terry. At that time, Jerry was manager of Lund's Feedlot west of Terry. In 1979, Jerry and Joan moved to Billings, where Jerry was yard foreman for Midland Empire Packing Co. After the closure of the packing plant, Jerry worked at Thornton Feedlot and later at Walco. In 1997, Jerry started his own business as a haybroker on Minnesota Avenue in Billings, a business venture he shared with his sister Del till the day he died.
Jerry is survived by his two sisters, Odelta Thomsen of Billings and Nina (Helmut) Hintz of Terry; his three children, Melinda (Ken) Young, Cindy Tusler (Dave George) and Bill (Vicky) Tusler; three stepchildren, Sheryl (Ed) Norris, C.B. (Kumiko) Tenderholt and Pete (Renee) Tenderholt; 14 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and his very special friend, Ada Branstetter.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Joan, his son Scott and stepson Gary.
Jerry was loved and respected by all that knew him. No one was a stranger to him for very long. He was a big man with a big heart, a true gentle giant. Jerry's word was his bond and he always took everyone else at their word. He was a hard worker all his life. Jerry had a great sense of humor and was a master of one liners. One of his favorites was "if you don't believe that I'm leaving, count the days that I'm gone."
A memorial service was held at Monday, Jan. 31, at Smith Downtown Chapel in Billings. A memorial service and rite of committal will be held in Terry at a later date. Memorial donations can be sent to the Billings Food Bank, located at 2112 Fourth Ave. N., Billings, MT 59101.
Published Feb. 2, 2011