On Sept. 28, 2020, Gerald B. Owens, loving husband, father, grandfather and friend, passed away at the age of 76. Jerry was born Nov. 24, 1943, in Falls City, to Roland and Marie (Miller) Owens and was the second of three children. Jerry married Beverly Armstrong in Lincoln on May 25, 1968, and they raised four children.
Jerry grew up on a farm near Verdon. He graduated from Dawson-Verdon High School as valedictorian. He attended Stanford University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and studied abroad in Germany. He graduated from UNL with honors with a degree in education with majors in mathematics and German. Jerry was a member of Farmhouse Fraternity, was a cheerleader at UNL and joined the Army ROTC.
Jerry and Beverly moved to Italy in 1968 where he served as an Army Captain. They returned to Verdon in 1972 where he helped manage the family farm with his father for 14 years.
In 1986, he opened the first Edward Jones office in Seward. He was proud to recall knocking on every door in Seward County to meet future clients and build his business. Jerry was well-suited for the work, combining genuine care for people and a knowledge of numbers and finance.
He was a member St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, the Knights of Columbus, served as president of the Seward Rotary Club and was an active ambassador of the Seward Area Chamber of Commerce.
Jerry was a cheerful and loving person, who was quick to develop a bond with every person he met. His children would joke that he never met a stranger. He was a talented linguist, who was at times mistaken for an Italian, German and Spanish native speaker. He was able to use self-taught Spanish skills to help members of the community. Jerry’s zest for life was fueled by many adventures: biking, hiking, scuba diving, travel…and a few shenanigans along the way.
Jerry was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Byron Owens; sister, Mary Kay Portrey; and granddaughter, Zoey May Owens. He is survived by his wife, Bev; children and spouses, Stephanie and Yuri Yulaev, David and Jill Owens, Dan and Kim Owens and John and Julie Owens; as well as 10 grandchildren, Nikolai and Olivia Yulaev; Oliver, Foster, Mercer and Miller Owens, Arianna and Jonathan Owens and Sadie and Jack Owens.
Mass of Christian Burial was Oct. 5 at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church with a private family inurnment and graveside service at the Seward Cemetery. Military honors were provided by U.S. Army and Seward V.F.W. Post #4755 and Seward American Legion Post #33. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Jerry’s memory at Mary Kay Owens Portrey Scholarship Fund c/o Bryan Foundation, Legacy Fund for Seward County Endowment and St. Vincent de Paul Church Endowment. Condolences may be left for the family at www.zabkafuneralhome.com.