Jerome M. "Jerry" Bickel, 88, died Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017, at Windsor Manor in Vinton.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15, at Vinton Presbyterian Church with the Rev. Jessica Crane-Munoz officiating. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14, at Van Steenhuyse-Russell Funeral Home in Vinton. Committal services will be at Evergreen Cemetery, Vinton, at a later date.
Jerry was born Oct. 8, 1929, in Columbus, Wis., the only child of Dr. Milton William and Esther Gramzow Bickel. He was raised in Reeseville, Wis., and graduated from Reeseville High School in 1947. He spent two years studying agriculture at the University of Wisconsin. He was a cadet in the Civil Air Patrol.
On Aug. 29, 1953, Jerry was united in marriage with Shirley Lorraine Dalziel in Wheaton, Minn. She preceded him in death on May 31, 2016.
Jerry farmed before working at boat and canning factories. He worked for Homelite Chainsaw and then began his career in methods and research and development for Perfex and Hawkbilt. Following some health issues in 1987, he went to work for Hutton RV Center, retiring in 1990.
Jerry was a longtime member of the Vinton Presbyterian Church and a 50-plus year member of the Masonic Lodge, achieving the level of master mason. He was very active at the Vinton Depot, spending 500 hours building the model on display there. He also spent countless hours building his own model railroad in his home. He was a talented woodworker, making over 60 pieces of hand-crafted furniture, the first of which was a crib for his son, Jeff.
Another of Jerry's passions was flying. He earned his pilot's license in 1951. He owned a Piper Cub and a Piper Vagabond, but the plane he owned the longest was an Aeronca Chief, which he purchased in 1967. He also built two airplanes himself.
Jerry is survived by his children, Jeffrey Bickel of Mazeppa, Minn., and Jennifer (Ben) Lane of Kittrell, N.C; three grandchildren, Alecia, Amanda and Travis; and six great-grandchildren, Michael, Sofia, Samuel, Lucas, Tessa and Claire.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his wife, Shirley.
Memorial contributions may be directed to Vinton Presbyterian Church, 608 First Ave., Vinton, IA 52349.
Van Steenhuyse-Russell Funeral Home of Vinton is caring for Jerry and his family.
Condolences may be left at www.vsrfh.com.