Our beloved husband, father, brother, grandfather and great-grandfather, Jerry Lee Eisenga, age 76 of Marion, Michigan peacefully passed away surrounded by his loving family on October 27, 2019, after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. He was born on June 29, 1943, to Henry and Reka (Roede) Eisenga who preceded him in death. He followed his parents’ heritage by being a truly compassionate man who loved big, fierce and hard.
Jerry was strong and diligent in his fight up until the end, and is survived by his devoted wife, Karla (Johnson), of 55 years and his children, Tarin (Brian) Brunink, Shandra Eisenga, Gary (Dawn) Eisenga and Jason (Sheri) Eisenga. He grew up on the family farm, Sunshine Acres, with his siblings who he leaves behind, Ben (Nella) Eisenga, Betty (Bob) Keen, Don (Phyllis) Eisenga, Harvey (Bonnie) Eisenga, Rosemary (Mike) Nederhoed, Dick (Beth) Eisenga and Scott (Linda) Eisenga.
He started his career at the Osceola County Road Commission before transferring to the Michigan Department of Transportation and retired in 1997 after 30 years of service. Jerry loved to snowmobile and hunt and played softball well into his 50’s. He was beyond ecstatic when he got the “big buck” in 2012. He was an avid golfer in his retirement years and could be found on the course frequently, in tournaments or leagues with family and friends. After 8 years with LC Redi-Mix, he went back to his farming roots and was a driver for VV Heritage family, whom he took under his wing as family and became to be known as “grandpa.” He spent countless hours doing what he grew to love, just because he could.
Jerry was a member of the West Michigan Pulling Association and became a dire hard tractor puller, which was made possible through the support of VV Heritage. In the past, he also owned and operated a pull sled with the Highland Pullers Association. He was able to make his last final full pull on August 14, 2019, in front of family, friends and the community. Jerry was beyond blessed to share his passion of this hobby with his sons.
He was a big supporter of his kids, grandkids and great grandkids and was always a big voice in the stands, and always carried his tootsie pops with him. Surviving grandkids include DaNay (Greg) Tossey, Rylee Eisenga, Amber (Brandon) Herlein, Kyler (Ashley) Eisenga, Morgan Eisenga and Shawna Eisenga and step-grand kids, Tony (Val) Brunink, Kristina (Kenny) Brunink, Bridgett Brunink and Brittany Brunink. His beloved great-grandchildren who is leaves behind are Tucker, Emerson, Harper, Leighton, Harrison and Briggs Tossey, Porter and Reyna Herlein and step great-grandchildren, Trenton, Jacob and Evelyn Brunink and Gracie, Thomas and Henri.
Although hesitant, he supported Karla’s love of Elvis and reluctantly took her to Nashville and Memphis. On the celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary, Elvis Tribute Artist Jake Slater renewed their vows in front of family and friends, to only end the night with Jerry having emergency gall bladder surgery. He always was the life of the party. Jerry enjoyed an elk hunt to Wyoming in his early years and a memorable trip to Iowa to visit the Roede family. He wasn’t one to vacation, but spent his last “your gonna go Jerry, says Karla” in Myrtle Beach with his wife and family in May 2019, and finally dipped his feet in the ocean.
He is also survived by his sister in law, Karen Eisenga and preceded in death by his sister in law’s, Darlene Wilkerson, Juanita Cason, and brother in law, Henry J. Eisenga and his in-laws, Arnold and Lempi Johnson. He also leaves behind a special family whom he loved as his own, Kim (Chris) VanStratt,
Corrine, Pierce and Reed. He leaves us with this motto song by David Lee Murphy, “Everything Is Gonna Be Alright.”
Jerry left a legacy, touching the hearts of many whom he crossed paths with. He loved his kids and grandkids beyond measure and had his own unique relationship with each of them, even donating his kidney to his daughter, Shandra. He will long be remembered for his BIG hugs, smile, love, care, laughter and his big heart for anyone who needed it. The Eisenga traditions will live on through him and our blessed families.
Services will be held at Highland Christian Reformed Church on Friday, November 1, 2019 at 11 am, with visitation prior to the service from 9 Am-11Am. Rather than the benefit dinner scheduled for November 10, and at Jerry’s request, a Celebration of Life will be held following the service. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the family. Funeral arrangements were handled by the Burkholder Family Funeral in McBain. Thoughts and prayers may be left at burkholderfamilyfuneralhome.com
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