Jerome “Jerry” Forrest Pugsley, 80 years of age, of Beatrice died October 21, 2017 at his home. He was born May 21, 1937 in Woodbine, Iowa to Francis and Marie (Pollard) Pugsley. He graduated from Woodbine High School in 1955 and from Wayne State Teachers College in 1959. It was at Wayne State where he met his wife, Carolyn (Neitzke) whom he married on May 3, 1959 at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Osmond, Nebraska.
Jerry began his career as a high school choral director in Seward, Nebraska. After two years he resigned to earn a Master’s Degree at the University of Kansas. In 1962 he and his wife, along with daughter Lisa, moved to Kenton, Ohio where he taught for four years. During the summers, he began a Doctoral program at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. In 1966 he moved to Lake Zurich, Illinois where their son, Jason, was born. Jerry taught in the District 214 school system in Arlington Heights and Mt. Prospect until his retirement in 1992 after which he taught private voice at Northbrook High School in Glenbrook, Illinois. He also played the organ and directed choirs in various churches through the years. He also sang professionally in the Chicago Symphony Chorus for two years. Highlights during this time were a performance of Schoenberg’s “Moses and Aaron” at Carnegie Hall and recording Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony” under the direction of Georg Solti.
In 2005 he and Carolyn moved to Beatrice, Nebraska where they were members of St. John Lutheran Church. Jerry sang in the choir, served on Church Council, and on the Worship and Music Committee. He also was interim choir director and organist on several occasions and was a member of the Beatrice Area Arts Council. Both he and Carolyn volunteered at the Community Pantry until his health made it no longer possible.
Among his many interests was gardening. When they lived on a five acre plot in Illinois, he said, “I didn’t garden, I farmed.” They also shared a love of antiques, especially Depression Glass.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers John, Jim and Joe; sister-in-law, Betty; and infant daughter, Lori Kathleen.
Survivors include wife, Carolyn, of Beatrice; daughter Lisa and special friend, Steve Lovelady of Shawano, Wisconsin; son, Jason, his wife Siou and their sons, Jaylen and Soren of Crystal Lake, Illinois; sisters-in-law Barbara Smyser of Omaha and Lavonne Stenzil of Colorado Springs, Colorado and Kathleen Johannsen and husband Richard of McLean, Nebraska; along with several nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held at 10:30 AM Friday, November 3, 2017 at St. John Lutheran Church in Beatrice with Pastors Greg Gabriel and Leah Lawson officiating. Inurnment will be at Rose Hill Cemetery near McLean at a later date. There will be no visitation. Memorials are suggested to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, 1250 Fourth Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401 with Karen Manes and Shirley Hill in charge. Condolences may be left online at www.harmanwrightmortuary.com. Harman-Wright Mortuary in Beatrice is in charge of arrangements.