Jerry B. Scherer, MSgt USMC (Ret), 89, of Billings MT, passed away peacefully on November 6, 2019 surrounded by his family. There are not enough words or space to describe this amazing man who was a decorated Marine, loyal friend, loving husband, father and grandfather.
Jerry was born June 20, 1930, in Evanston, IL. His mother, Christine Bunker and step-father, Al Schwichtenberg settled in Plankinton, SD where Jerry spent his childhood. Jerry’s mother died when he was 12 and the Plankinton community and families helped to raise him until the call of military service led him to the United States Marine Corp.
Jerry enlisted in the USMC in 1947 and proudly served his country for 21 years, retiring in 1968 as a Master Sergeant. He served several tours in Korea and Vietnam. Jerry was a young Marine when he entered the Korean War on September 15, 1950, beginning with the Landing on Inchon. During his first tour in Korea, he was in multiple operations to include the recapture of Seoul as well as the infamous Battle of Chosin Reservoir in which his “duty, sacrifice and valor during that battle distinguished him as a member of the exclusive brotherhood of honor known as the Chosin Few.” He returned to Korea after the signing of the Korean War Armistice in 1953 as the only American advisor to a ROK (Republic of Korea) Marine Corps Tank Battalion with the responsibility of the modernization of that force. In addition to his service in Korea, he also survived multiple campaigns during an 18-month-long tour in the Vietnam War ending with his retirement in 1968. His decorations include two combat Action Ribbons, 5 Presidential Unit Citations, Navy Unit Accommodation, Meritorious Unit Citation, 6 Good Conduct Ribbons, Korean Service Ribbon with four stars, Vietnam Service Ribbon with two Stars, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, the United Nations Service Ribbon and multiple others. The discipline, patriotism and dedication to family he learned in the Marines never left him, and was evident in everything he did. He was known for saying that the Marine Corps gave him everything he had and taught him everything he knew.
Jerry met the love of his life, Katherine Schroeder, while on military leave and they were married December 1, 1962 in Plankinton, SD. After retiring from the USMC, in 1970 he moved his family to Billings, MT where they raised three children, Christina Parker, Wendy Cassidy and Jerry (J.P.) Scherer and called the Billings community home for over 45 years.
Jerry worked as a heavy diesel mechanic for many years at Motor Power Equipment, and was known for having the ability to fix anything. You could always find him working in his garage fixing the vehicles of friends and family. The only payment he would take for his work would be a six pack of beer. When not working, you could find him at any of the local pubs around town where he was able to make friends with anyone who sat next to him.
Jerry’s mother Christine Bunker, step-father Al Schwichtenberg, and beloved wife Katherine Scherer (Schroeder) preceded him in death.
Jerry is survived by his son, Jerry P. (Jennifer) Scherer; daughter Christina Parker; daughter Wendy (Buck) Cassidy; seven grandchildren, Brian Parker, Kevin Parker, Brayden Ross, Sydney Ross, Addie Cassidy, Riley Scherer, Kaylie Scherer; brother-in-law Jim (Babe) Boyd; other cousins; nieces and nephews and many, many friends.
A Special thank you to the local 4×4 Clubs for their tireless effort to finishing the restoration of Jerry’s WWII Jeep that Jerry became physically unable to complete. That Jeep meant the world to him!
A special thank you to Edgewood Vista Memory Care and Stillwater Hospice in Billings for their loving care and support during his final days.
The casket will be open for visitation beginning at 4:00 p.m., Monday, November 11, 2019 with the Vigil (Celebration of Life) beginning at 6:00 p.m., at Heights Family Funeral Home. Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, November 12, 2019 at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church. The burial with full military honors will be at Holy Cross Cemetery immediately following Mass. Please join the family for a reception from 2-4 p.m., at the VFW Post 6774 in Billings Heights.