Gerald L. "Jerry" Vande Hei

March 6, 1933 - March 10, 2021

Sun Prairie, WI - Gerald (Jerry) L Vande Hei, 88, of Sun Prairie, peacefully passed away at Agrace Hospice Fitchburg, March 10, 2021 surrounded by his children. He was born March 6, 1933 in DePere, WI the son of Martin and Mae (Secor) Vande Hei. Jerry's childhood was spent enjoying the outdoors and hunting with his Dad, Martin and best friend, Jim Doyle. Jerry graduated Abbot Pennings High School in 1951. He started his collegiate career at St Norbert College where he studied for two years before enlisting in the Army. Jerry served two years as a Corporal stationed in Dongducheon, Korea. He then, returned home and attended Michigan Tech University where he graduated from their School of Forestry in 1958. Jerry was also inducted into MTU's Environmental Science Alumni Honor Academy in 1995.

Jerry married Patricia A. Simonar on October 11, 1958 at St John's Cathedral in Green Bay. They were blessed with four children, Todd, Ann, Tim and Nick. They lived throughout Wisconsin due to Jerry's career with the State of Wisconsin Forestry including Gordon, Black River Falls, Shawano and finally settling in Sun Prairie in 1973. Jerry retired in 1995 as the Chief of the Forest Management Division of the State of Wisconsin DNR.

Jerry was an avid sportsman enjoying hunting and fishing. He loved to spend as much time as he could at his cherished cabin "Van's Camp" up north in Phillips. He shared his love for the outdoors with his kids and grandchildren and they created many memories together as a family. One of Jerry's proudest moments was the black bear he harvested by the cabin. Jerry also had many memorable trips fishing in Canada as well as pheasant hunting in South Dakota.

Jerry was a member of Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in Sun Prairie, WI, always attending mass with his wife, Patty.

Jerry is survived by his loving wife of over 62 years, Patricia. His children, Todd (Laura) Vande Hei, Ann (Rob) McIntyre and Nick (Julie) Vande Hei. He is also survived by his nine grandchildren: Jenny Hembree, Steven & Olivia Vande Hei; Andrew, Molly & Abby McIntyre; Tillie, Mary & Ray Vande Hei and great grandsons: Levi, Jameson & Lukas Hembree. He is further survived by his sisters, Doris Scholtz & Jean Bourgeois and many nieces and nephews.

Jerry was proceeded in death by his son, Tim Vande Hei on April 10, 2020. His parents, his brothers-in-law: Tom Schoultz and Grant Bourgeois and his best friend, Jim Doyle.

Jerry was a loving husband, father and grandpa. He was the kind of person that offered sound advice, always encouraged and loved his family with his whole heart. He would call each of his kids every week to "check in" and make sure everyone was safe. He was centered by his strong Catholic faith and love for his country. He will be deeply missed and cherished by his family. In Lieu of flowers a memorial to Agrace Hospice ( or 5395 E. Cheryl Parkway, Madison, WI 53711.

A Mass of Christian burial will be held at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Catholic Church, 227 Columbus St., Sun Prairie, on Wednesday March 17th, 2021, at 11:00 am, Father Thomas Kelley will preside. Visitation will be at 9:30am until the time of Mass Wednesday at the church. Burial will be at Sacred Hearts Cemetery.

Tuschen-Newcomer Funeral Home

Sun Prairie, WI 608-837-5400

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