American Veteran 04

Jerome "Jerry" Tielke

November 30, 1952 ~ April 1, 2024 (age 71) 71 Years Old

Jerome "Jerry" Tielke Obituary

Memorial services for Jerome “Jerry” Tielke, age 71, of Norfolk, Nebraska will be 11:00 a.m. Saturday, April 6, 2024, at Home for Funerals Chapel, 708 Georgia Avenue, in Norfolk. John Petersen will officiate.

Military honors will be provided by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1644, American Legion Post 16, and Army National Guard Honor Guard.

Visitation will be one hour prior to the service.

Jerry died Monday, April 1, 2024, at his residence.

Jerome “Jerry” Tielke was born November 30, 1952, in Atkinson, Nebraska to V.J. “Bill” and Beth (Sloan) Tielke. He grew up in rural Atkinson and graduated from West Holt High School in 1971. He enlisted in the U.S. Army that same year. While stationed at Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma, Jerry met his wife, Becky. They were married in Walters, Oklahoma on May 17, 1975, and then moved to Norfolk, Nebraska. Jerry attended Northeast Technical Community College, where he earned a degree in HVAC. While living in Norfolk their son, Gabe, was born. They then moved to O’Neill where Jerry worked at Tielke Dairy Supply and also for DHIA testing cows. While in O’Neill, the family was completed with the birth of their daughter, Mandi.

Jerry and Becky later divorced, but despite being apart for close to 18 years, they ended up remarrying in 2002. Though Jerry said this was because “it just made sense,” it was clear that Becky had been the missing puzzle piece and for Jerry, everything was finally as it should be.

Jerry worked for Iowa Veterinary Supply in Sioux City for several years. He then moved back to Norfolk in 1994 where he joined Tielke Sandwiches as a part-owner. Jerry spent a lot of hours on the road building relationships and acquiring new accounts for Tielke’s. He knew every highway, shortcut, and landmark in Nebraska. If you were ever lost, you could call Jerry and he would help you find your way. Jerry had an unwavering work ethic. Whether he needed to be there or not, he was going to show up and do what needed done. In Jerry’s words, “he was here, he worked hard, now he’s gone.” Jerry was a part of Tielke’s Sandwiches until he retired in 2022.

Though it took him awhile to get there, retirement did start to grow on Jerry. He enjoyed reading (he was a devoted Stephen King fan most of his life), woodworking, working in the yard, and coming up with unique ways to keep the squirrels out of his bird feeders. He even dabbled in “sugaring” (tapping his Maple tree for syrup). Finding no one else who enjoyed true Nebraska Maple Syrup, this was a short-lived hobby.

In addition to his other hobbies, Jerry loved traveling. He had been to India, Jordan, and Ireland. Jerry took several trips to Colombia with his nephew and his family and became an honorary member of the Calderon family. Jerry recently took a road trip with his kids from Nebraska to Maine, hitting every possible landmark along the way. The highlight of this trip for him was the Stephen King tour in Bangor, Maine. Jerry had a cruise planned for the summer to go down the Danube from Germany to Hungary.

Jerry never missed a family holiday or event. Few things made him happier than being surrounded by family for any occasion. He made a point of talking to each and every family member and made sure he knew what everyone had going on. Jerry always looked forward to visits from his grandchildren and great-granddaughter. He made sure beds were ready and the pantry was stocked. Even though Jerry may not have told you directly how proud he was of you, he was bragging about you to someone else.

Jerry is survived by his children, Gabe and Mandi; grandchildren, Gabbie (Josiah) Ragsdale, Bianca Tielke, Lincoln Tielke, Bentley Tielke-Freeman, and Judah Tielke; as well as great-granddaughter, Willow. Jerry is also survived by his brothers, Bill (Julie) Tielke and Mike (Joy) Tielke; sisters, Terri (Tom) Olander, Becci (Bob) Olander, and Merri (Darold) Schneider; brothers-in-law, Mike (Liz) Darnell, David (Lanorma) Darnell, and Darrell (Stacy) Darnell; uncle, Jack (Edith) Tielke; cousins, and many nieces and nephews.

Jerry was preceded in death by his wife, Becky Darnell-Tielke; parents, V.J. and Beth Tielke; sister, Patti Swanson; parents-in-law, Jack and Leta Darnell; and brother-in-law, Gary Darnell. Jerry was also preceded in death by his nephew, Damian Olander, who whether Damian liked it or not, Jerry had a very special relationship with.

Though Jerry’s death was unexpected, being the planner he was, he left some instructions and a little note for everyone – “In all I’m satisfied with the way my life played out. In hindsight, there are always decisions you wish you would have made differently, choices you wish you would have made or not made. But without all those good and bad, right and wrongs, it wouldn’t have been my life, and I really can’t regret that.”

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