Jerome “Jerry” Felix Birgen

11/01/1941 - 05/06/2019
Service Date: 06/07/2019
Service Time: 10:00 AM
Service Location: St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church, Beresford, South Dakota
Visitation Date: 06/06/2019
Visitation Time: Rosary: 5:30 PM; Prayer Service: 6:00 PM
Visitation Location: St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church, Beresford, South Dakota

On Monday May 6, 2019 at the age 77, Jerome “Jerry” Felix Birgen died at his home in Gilbert, Arizona under hospice care. Jerry was born on November 1, 1941 to Felix and Lavina Birgen and was the third child of seven siblings. Jerry’s early years were spent helping his father on the farm and receiving a high school education from Beresford High School. Due to the early death of his parents, the seven children learned lessons on independence and perseverance by raising themselves.

At age 20, Jerry was in a corn picking accident which resulted in the loss of his right arm and fingers of his left hand. Raising younger siblings and operating the farm was a team effort by two older sisters, neighbors, and relatives for the next ten years. On February 17, 1968, Jerry married Patricia Stoner and this union led to the birth of their two sons, Mike and Chris.

Operating the farm became a family journey. Jerry took the role as head of production, marketing, and resources while growing the farm operation to over a million-dollar business. Due to the change in the agriculture industry, Jerry recognized the need to provide for his family in a different way. He enrolled in Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown, South Dakota and received an Associates Banking and Finance degree. 

After graduating, Jerry worked two years as a conservationist for the government, while utilizing his farming background. Jerry led public relations for FEMA as an outreach specialist and served as District National Motor Club representative. Upon moving to Arizona, he worked as an insurance verification specialist for McKesson until his death.

Jerry will be missed deeply by his wife, Pat; two sons, Mike (Tina) Birgen of Brookings, SD and Chris (Dawn) Birgen of Gilbert, AZ; three granddaughters, Breanna, Brittany and Ella; six siblings; and many friends. He was preceded in death by his parents and two brother-in-law’s.

ROSARY AND PRAYER SERVICE: Celebrated by Fr. David Roehrich, Rosary – 5:30 p.m., Prayer Service – 6:00 p.m., Thursday, June 6, 2019 at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church, Beresford, South Dakota

MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: Celebrated by Fr. David Roehrich, 10:00 a.m., Friday, June 7, 2019 at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church, Beresford, South Dakota

 

Condolences

  • Barbara Willis

    I’m so sorry to hear of Jerry’s death. May he Rest In Peace.

  • Lee Ann Meschino

    This is a time of immense sadness for those “left behind.” We wish for you to find comfort, and maybe even laughter, as you get together to tell stories of Jerry/Dad/Grandpa and call up memories of so many good times. Please know that you’re surrounded by people who want to know some of those stories too.
    Lots of love from Lee and Mark Meschino

  • Kevin Kennedy

    My condolences to the entire Birgen Family.

  • Dale and Suzanne Lunt

    Chris and Family-
    We are express our love and condolences to you all. We know that this has been a trying time for you. You have been in our prayers and thoughts.
    Your father seems like a man who provided you with so many examples of strength and courage. We wish you the best as you all come together in this difficult time.
    Dale and Suzanne

  • Janelle O'Connor

    Jerry was the friendliest man. He always had a smile! He must of been a great provider for his siblings. I am sure he will be missed by all. Blessings and prayers to his family

  • Jerry and Pat raised an amazing man who is one of my best friends. Their marriage is an example to all of us and what true love looks like. I am blessed to have known Jerry and admire his strength. I hope I am as great of a dad and granddad as Jerry. Love to the Birgen family! – love the Pettits

  • Rest In Peace Jerry.

  • Wonderful man and family. He was always positive and upbeat. He is missed to be sure.

  • Dorothy Baird-Bos

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I remember fun times out at the Birgen farm when Mary and I would come out to visit. Prayers and condolences for Pat and the whole family.

  • So very sorry for your loss. Jerry was such a dear soul who will be greatly missed. Cherish your precious memories till you meet again. May God bless the whole Birgen family. Love from the Hetlands

  • I have so many wonderful memories of times at the farm house in South Dakota where I spent some summer vacations. I remember Uncle Jerry working in the fields the entire day while Aunt Pat made the meals for the men. Lunch time was like a dinner time meal. I got to see my first animal being born on that farm – a pig of course. They had a pig farm and I remember Aunt Pat running out to shoo the pigs out places they weren’t supposed to be. I never heard anything but kindness and love from both Uncle Jerry and Aunt Pat. One time I decided to park their car in the garage and I hit the gas instead of the brakes and ran the car into a bunch of stuff and they only laughed. Whew! Aunt Pat didn’t even get mad when I was teaching Chris my great skills of taming cats and let one go in the laundry room. It tore up all the curtains as it ran circles around the room. I am not sure if that cat was tamed. Uncle Jerry was the best there could be. He was always so kind and caring. I never heard him raise his voice or say anything negative. He was so caring. No matter what age I was, he would talk to me about anything. He really wanted to hear what I had to say. He was so humble too. He worked so hard and did so much for other people but didn’t need praise. He reminds me a lot of my Grandpa Stoner. The best of the best. I love you Uncle Jerry.

  • Connie Birgen

    Jerry was a great role model for a Christian man. A caring and living husband, father, neighbor and friend. May he rest in God’s loving arms and God willing may I be with him in eternity

  • Kathy and Bill Dowling

    Dear Mike,
    We are so sorry for the loss of your dad. You and your family have our sympathy.

  • I have so many wonderful memories of times at the farm house in South Dakota where I spent some summer vacations. I remember Uncle Jerry working in the fields the entire day while Aunt Pat made the meals for the men. Lunch time was like a dinner time meal. I got to see my first animal being born on that farm – a pig of course. They had a pig farm and I remember Aunt Pat running out to shoo the pigs out places they weren’t supposed to be. I never heard anything but kindness and love from both Uncle Jerry and Aunt Pat. One time I decided to park their car in the garage and I hit the gas instead of the brakes and ran the car into a bunch of stuff and they only laughed. Whew! Aunt Pat didn’t even get mad when I was teaching Chris my great skills of taming cats and let one go in the laundry room. It tore up all the curtains as it ran circles around the room. I am not sure if that cat was tamed. Uncle Jerry was the best there could be. He was always so kind and caring. I never heard him raise his voice or say anything negative. He was so caring. No matter what age I was, he would talk to me about anything. He really wanted to hear what I had to say. He was so humble too. He worked so hard and did so much for other people but didn’t need praise. He reminds me a lot of my Grandpa Stoner. The best of the best. I love you Uncle Jerry. You will always be a part of me.

  • So very sorry to hear of Jerry’s passing. Sending condolences to Pat, Dorothy and the whole family.

  • Tom & Kathy Holmes

    Our lives are better for knowing Jerry & Pat these past years. You are both such an inspiration and blessing to us & our family. We have been and are praying for your family as you grieve the loss of this wonderful man. We love you and thank God for you in our lives. Tom & Kathy

  • I appreciated Jerry as a friend, and co worker in our work together with the National Motor Club. We spent alot of time together selling. I was inspired by his perseverence and integrity. My prayers go out to Pat and the boys.

  • Chris, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Your father was very fortunate to have such a wonderful son like you. I love you, my friend.

  • My condolences to all of the Birgen family. I was a high school class mate of Jerry. We lived close to Jerry(SurpriseAz)for many years. We emailed back and forth many times to plan lunch, never got that done. Did get to see Jerry and Pat at BHS 55th reunion.
    God Bless and comfort you all in this difficult time.
    Ron & Mona Heglin

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