Celebrating the life of Jerome William Koenigs
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Jerry was born in Mankato, MN on February 4, 1933 to Norbert (Nubs) and Alma Koenigs. He was the oldest of six children. Diane, Lois, Don, Paul and Noel are his siblings who followed suit.
During the early 1940’s, Nubs went to work in the shipyards in Baltimore to assist in the war effort. Jerry’s parents decided he should live with his paternal grandparents, George and Magdalena Koenigs in Mankato during these months. This would ease the burden on Alma, who was expecting their fifth child. Years earlier, Grandpa Koenigs had taught 4-year-old Jerry how to fish, thus instilling in a life-long passion in his young grandson. He often spoke fondly of these memories of his Grandpa. When he was 12 years old, Jerry bought his first rifle from Donnie Wilson for $5.00. He said he didn’t think much of Donnie, but he really like his gun. From that time on, Jerry helped feed his family by hunting squirrels and rabbits.
An 8-year-old Jerry knew he wanted to go to college and began saving money earned from odd jobs. By the time he graduated from Fairmont High School, he had saved $506.00. Jerry graduated from the University of MN with his Bachelor’s degree in Forestry. Since he had received a draft waiver earlier in his college years, it was now time to fulfill his duty to country. Jerry proudly served in the U.S. Army for two years. During these years Jerry was transferred by the Army to Syracuse, NY. He worked in Counter Intelligence, thus the reason he never discussed his Army experience. Upon his honorable discharge, Jerry continued his education, earning his Masters in Forestry from Syracuse University and his PhD in Plant Pathology from Washington State University. He was a married father of seven children in 1964 when he moved his family to Raleigh, NC. His eighth child was born there. Jerry began his career at Research Triangle Institute where he worked as a plant pathology microbiologist. He retired from RTI in 1991.
Throughout his life, Jerry enjoyed fresh seafood of all kinds especially raw oysters on the half shell with a squeeze of fresh lemon, a glass of good Riesling chilled, reading, watching Johnny Carson, wood-working in his basement shop, gardening, cooking, traveling to Spain, England, Scotland, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, etc., playing tennis at NC State University’s Faculty Club…lots and lots of tennis and fishing, fishing, fishing at Cape Lookout and Harker’s Island, NC. In 2017 Jerry moved to Charleston, SC where he lived for two short years. When it was time to leave his beloved ocean, he graciously accepted the invitation from his daughter, Linda to live with her family in Spokane Valley, WA. The cross-country adventure began on October 23, 2019 when he flew home with Linda and Rick. Jerry spent his last year surrounded by his grandchildren and great-grandchildren enjoying the warmth and companionship of family, home-cooked meals, Thanksgiving, Christmas, his 87th birthday, Father’s Day and more. Although he was quiet, Jerry had a great sense of humor, quick wit and had an unwavering passion for learning/education. He was an absolutely brilliant man! The last two months of Jerry’s life were spent at Purity’s Calico Cottage AFH in Mead. The staff cared for him as if he were one of their own. He thoroughly enjoyed his time in the beautiful country setting. Jerry’s final days were spent visiting with various family members, recalling funny childhood stories, enjoying his favorite foods and watching MSNBC.
Jerry is survived his siblings Diane (John) McCann Issaquah, WA; Don (Gloria) Koenigs Petersburg, AK; Paul (Mary) Koenigs Valrico, FL; Noel (Marie) Koenigs Benson, MN; seven children, ten grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents, sister Lois Gerhards and son Tom Koenigs. We would like to extend our sincere appreciation to the staff at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center, Dr. Sesham, Dr. Singh, the staff at MultiCare Valley Hospital and Hospice House of Spokane (South Hill) for the wonderful care you gave my Dad. Per my father’s request there will be no memorial service. His final resting place will be on Harker’s Island, NC when the weather and COVID guidelines permit.
My dearest Dad, because of you I love the ocean, I know how to work hard and what causes lightening bugs to glow. I’ll love and miss you forever and always, Linda Beginda
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