Jerald Leland Crew, of Webb, Iowa, met his Savior on Wednesday, June 10, 2020, at age 85. Jerry was born February 13, 1935, as the first baby born in the new Spencer hospital, to Norval and Emma Crew, the oldest of their eight children. Jerry spent his childhood years on the family farm south of Gillett Grove, where he worked learning the aspects of successful farming. Jerry’s love of the land began on the farm, which he later worked to improve and grew to love.
Jerry graduated from Gillett Grove High School in 1952, where he was valedictorian, played basketball, and was active in FFA. After high school, Jerry received an agricultural scholarship to attend Iowa State College, where he majored in education, was a member of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity, and was in the Air Force ROTC. Jerry completed his student-teaching in Forest City before graduating in 1956. Following graduation, he joined the United States Air Force and acquired the rank of major. Jerry’s highest achievement, however, was serving as RSO for the SR-71. Fondly recalling many fascinating tours, Jerry spoke of his scariest moment flying over Vietnam when missiles were fired at their aircraft. Jerry retired from active duty on December 12, 1969, and returned to the family farm, where he expanded his farming practice and began a farrow to finish hog operation. Long hours were a labor of love as Jerry worked to improve the land. Firmly believing in the value of land stewardship, Jerry sought to leave the land better than the condition in which he found it. He worked faithfully at soil conservation and served as a Clay County Soil Commissioner for over three decades. He was also a long-time Farm Bureau member and an avid gardener, often donating his produce to benefit his church and Iowa Great Lakes Lutheran School. Jerry tirelessly promoted no-till farming and often penned letters to the editor supporting its benefits. A recipient of numerous conservation awards and nominations, Jerry was a true pioneer in the field of sustainable agriculture.
Jerry staunchly supported the Clay County Republicans and was found volunteering at the Clay County Fair yearly in their booth. He was outspoken in his beliefs and was frequently published in countless newspaper and magazine publications raising awareness and discussion over multiple issues. Whether one agreed with him or not, he was respected as one who worked for the causes in which he believed.
Meeting the love of his life while stationed in California, Jerry found Georgia Owen to be his soulmate. The two were united in marriage on October 24, 1969, in Marysville, California. After relocating to Iowa to farm, two children were born to this union. Peter (Andrea) and Jill both learned to love agriculture, their families, and God as they followed in the footsteps of their parents. Jerry’s family was his greatest earthly treasure, and he spent many precious hours playing cards, fishing, and laughing with his seven grandchildren. They each possess special traits attributable to their beloved Grandpa.
Jerry’s faith was the cornerstone on which he centered his life. Jerry was baptized at Zion Lutheran Church in Ayrshire, on May 12, 1935, and was confirmed there on April 10, 1949. He was a member of Ayrshire Lutheran Church and later First English Lutheran Church in Spencer, serving as an elder at both. Jerry served as a long-time, active Iowa Great Lakes Lutheran School board member, faithfully working to spread the Gospel to the next generation. IGLLS had a special and very large space in his heart.
Jerry was preceded in death by his parents, Norval and Emma Crew, his brothers David and Ron Crew, and two infant brothers. Left to cherish his memory is his wife of 51 years, Georgia (Owen) Crew, son Peter Crew (wife Andrea, children Ryan, Austin, Molly, Abbey); daughter Jill Hanson ( children Emma, Sydney, and Macy); sisters LaVonne (Monty) Putbrese, Karen (Tom) Wheaton, Carmen (David) Warford; sister-in-law Shari Crew; and extended family and numerous friends. In lieu of flowers, donations will be given to Iowa Great Lakes Lutheran School in Jerry’s name.