Jerry G. Bode
June 1, 1937 - September 27, 2019
Funeral services for Jerry G. Bode, 82, of Tucson, AZ, were held at 2 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019, at Vista de la Montaña United Methodist Church in
The service was live streamed at vistaumc.com.
Jerry G. Bode died Sept. 27, 2019.
Jerry G. Bode was born June 1, 1937, at Minneapolis, MN, to George Arthur
and Eda Mae (Schmidt) Bode.
The family moved to a farm outside Chamberlain, SD, before Jerry was
even a year old.
As a child, he was educated along with his siblings and cousins in a one-
room schoolhouse. He was a precocious child, hungry for learning so his
teacher gave him an entire year’s worth of school work at the beginning of
each year with the understanding that after completing all his assignments,
he could read the school’s encyclopedia for the remainder of the year. Because of this, he had an encyclopedic knowledge of the world and would
regularly interject little-known facts into conversations. He was the Google
of his generation.
Eventually he was joined by five siblings and the family moved into
Chamberlain, SD, where he attended high school. Not content to simply be
a “brain,” Jerry participated in speech, Glee Club, football and the typical
amount of small town shenanigans that occurred in the 1950s. He graduated
in 1955 and began attending the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology of Rapid City, SD. It was there that he began his 31-year career with the military, spending time in the Army National Guard as well as the Army Reserve.
After a year of engineering, he came to the end of his financial resources
and concluded that engineering was not the path he should follow. He returned home to work for the Corps of Engineers, helping build dams along the Missouri River of South Dakota. He also worked at St. Joseph’s Indian
School of Chamberlain, SD. This pattern continued for several years with
Jerry working a year and then attending college for a year. He enrolled in
the University of South Dakota at Vermillion, SD, to pursue a degree in
journalism. He eventually graduated and in later years applied those skills
to proofread his children’s school papers using a red pen and editorial proof
marks, thereby building a great deal of character in both children.
On Oct. 9, 1960, he married a Lake Andes, SD, girl, Janet L. Beemer,
that he met at a wedding (not theirs). He literally swept her off her feet by
dancing every dance he could with her during the wedding reception.
He completed his bachelor’s degree in 1962 and in 1963, they packed up
their 1954 Ford and headed to Fort Rucker, Alabama, to attend fixed wing
flight school. After completing that program, they continued to Fort Wolters
for Jerry to attend Army Primary Helicopter School where he learned to fly
both Sikorsky H-34s and UH-1 (Hueys). After completing both flight
schools, they returned to Vermillion, SD, for Jerry to begin his master’s degree in sociology, which he completed in 1964. The Bodes moved once again to Lincoln, NE, so Jerry could begin work on his PhD in sociology at the University of Nebraska. The year 1967 was a banner year with the purchase of a new car (a snazzy two-tone Dodge Cornett 500), the addition of
a baby daughter, a PhD and a new job at the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ.
Two years later, a son was added to the family.
In 1973, Jerry received an offer to work at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Jerry moved his family across the country and began a
25-plus year career in the sociology department, including more than a
decade as department chair.
During his years in Muncie, he was company commander for his National
Guard unit, taught at Command General Staff, supported Janet’s pursuit of
two degrees, provided regular sociological discourse at the dinner table and
helped raise a family.
Jerry retired from the military as a Lieutenant Colonel. But it was hard for
Jerry to leave behind the armed forces so in the summers of 1988-1989, he
worked on special research projects at the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, for the first time truly combining his passion for the military and sociology.
After Jerry retired from Ball State, he and Janet returned to Tucson, AZ,
for the winter; it didn’t take long for them to decide to move back. The boy
who had read about Arizona in an encyclopedia when he was six returned
to the state for good.
As a passionate dancer, Jerry delighted in chairing the Sun City Vistoso
He was also a member of Vista de la Montaña United Methodist Church
and was active in many activities in Sun City,AZ. His deadpan humor, long
conversations and funny stories will be missed by his friends and family.
Grateful for having shared his life are his wife of nearly 59 years, Janet
L. Bode; a daughter, Jill M. Bode and Eric Klinkowski; a son, Jay G. Bode
(Kat Tom Bode); a brother, Larry Bode and wife, Jennifer; a sister, Dianne
Wegner; his baby brother, Rich Bode and wife, Tracy; a brother-in-law, Jon
Beemer and wife, Grace; a sister-in-law, Carol Schlim and husband, Paul
and numerous nieces and nephews. He will be especially missed by his
spoiled 20-pound orange cat, Pumpkin.
He was preceded in death by his parents, George Arthur and Eda Mae
Bode; a sister, Betty Shaw; a brother, Robert Bode; brother-in-laws, Hank
Wegner and Patrick Shaw and nephews, Nic Schlim and Creighton Beemer.
Although Jerry enjoyed flowers, he liked supporting causes he cared
about more. Memorial contributions may be made to the Vista de la Montaña United Methodist Church Building Fund (vistaumc.org).