Jerrold Arlen Tesmer, 64, of Harmony, passed away in Rochester Monday, April 13, 2015, surrounded by his family after a courageous battle with cancer.
Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Friday, April 17, at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Granger, with Pastor Audree Catalano officiating. Following services, Jerry will be laid to rest at St. Matthew Cemetery with military rites.
Friends may call from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 16, at the Lindstrom Funeral Home in Harmony, and at the church for an hour prior to services.
Jerry was born Jan. 26, 1951, to Allen and Arlene (McNee) Tesmer of rural Harmony. He was raised on their family farm and graduated from Harmony High School in 1969. After attending the University of Minnesota for one year, Jerry enlisted into the Army during the Vietnam War. While in the military, Jerry married Kathryn "Kathy" Jensson on July 28, 1973, in Riceville, Iowa. He then returned to the university and completed his bachelor of science in agricultural education. He taught high school agriculture in Grand Meadow for one year, whereupon a family illness brought him home. For the next 10 years, Tesmer owned and operated a hog operation.
In 1987, Tesmer was asked to apply for the local county extension agent position and received his appointment that fall. While at extension, he completed a master's of adult education. His duties included providing programming for agriculture and environmental issues, assisting farmers with farm financial management, as well as a producing a weekly news column and radio program. He also served as an advisor on the statewide farm information line. Jerry's proudest accomplishment was his Farm Safety Day Camp. The program initially began as a summer day camp for about 50 students, however, the last eight years, all fourth-grade students across Fillmore and Houston counties attend the camp. Each year, more than 400 students participate in 15 stations, with the assistance of 30 presenters and 30 FFA volunteers. In 2011, Jerry was a finalist for the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) Search for Excellence: Farm Safety & Health Award. Jerry recently retired from the University of Minnesota Extension with more than 27 years as an agricultural extension educator. Through the years, he served Fillmore, Mower, Winona and Houston counties, however, in his last position, he assisted farmers in both Fillmore and Houston counties. For all 27 years, Tesmer served the people of Fillmore County.
Jerry was a role model for other agricultural extension educators, and served in leadership positions on numerous boards including the Minnesota Association of Extension Educators (MAEE), the Minnesota Association of Extension Agricultural Professionals (MAEAP), and the Advisory Committee to the Dean of Extension. He was recognized in 2007 as the Minnesota Farm Bureau Extension Educator of the Year, and was recently recognized in March 2015 at the Minnesota House of Representatives Agriculture Finance Committee for his outstanding service to agriculture.
Jerry and his wife, Kathy, lived on their rural Harmony farm and raised a small flock of sheep. He was involved with the St. Matthew Lutheran Church and Luren Singing Society. Jerry enjoyed spending time with his five married children and six grandchildren.
Jerry is survived by his wife, Kathy; five children, Jennifer (Colin) Pickett of Preston, Mark (Megan) Tesmer of Farmington, Karin (Brent) Hadoff of Golden Valley, Sarah (Dallas) Dornink of Falcon Heights and Gordon (April) Tesmer of Fort Meade, Md.; six grandchildren, Morgan, Kathryn, Cooper, Harper, Lucas and Logan; his father and stepmother, Allen (Deloris) Tesmer of Lime Springs, Iowa; three siblings, Jim Tesmer of Rochester, Joy (Bob) Baker of Thornton, Iowa and Gene (Diane) Tesmer of Knob Noster, Mo.; Kathy's parents, Gordon and Marion Jensson of Riceville, Iowa; Kathy's siblings, Phil (Karla) Jensson of Riceville, Iowa and Paul (Sue) Jensson of LeRoy, Ill.; and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Arlene Tesmer, a sister, Julie, and an infant son.
Jerry truly loved his family and will be missed by many.
Online condolences are welcome at lindstromfuneralhomes.com.