Gerald (Jerry) Ovel
Gerald Louis Ovel, 93, of Cedar Rapids, passed away peacefully on Sept. 24, 2018,
at the Ed & Joan Hemphill Hospice Unit at UnityPoint-
St. Luke's Hospital surrounded by his family after a short battle with cancer. A visitation will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28, at Cedar Memorial Park Chapel Stateroom with services to follow at 1 p.m. in the adjacent Cedar Memorial Chapel of Memories. Graveside services will follow at Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery with full military honors.
Gerald L. "Jerry" Ovel, a longtime resident of Cedar Rapids, was born Feb. 18, 1925, in Dubuque, Iowa, the son of Louis Gerhardt and Mata Nierling Ovel. He attended Anamosa High School and graduated from Hanover High School in Hanover, Ill. At the age of 18, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps as a second lieutenant and piloted C47 cargo and paratrooper flights during World War II supporting the Ardennes, Rhineland and Central Europe campaigns. He was a member of the American Legion Post 13 in Anamosa for the past 70 years. His service to our country as a veteran of World War II was honored earlier this year as a participant in an Eastern Iowa Honor Flight. Jerry was an outstanding example of our nation's Greatest Generation, a generation that will be greatly missed.
After returning from the war, Jerry married his hometown sweetheart, Elizabeth Ann "Betty" Hartman, of Anamosa in 1946. He attended Oklahoma State University and then graduated from the American Institute of Commerce. He began his employment as an accountant at Dearborn Brass Co. in Cedar Rapids and then served as the sales manager for Cedar Rapids Pump and Supply Co. In 1960, he purchased Iowa Pipe and Supply Co., a plumbing, heating, industrial wholesale distribution company. During the next 22 years, he also acquired and operated Cedar Rapids Pump and Supply Co., the Chandler Co. in Cedar Rapids, Crane Co. in Davenport and built Cedar Manufacturing Co. in Cedar Rapids, a producer of fiberglass tub and shower models. After selling those businesses in the early 1980s, he owned and operated Travel Advisors, a Cedar Rapids travel agency. Throughout his working career, Jerry was a consummate entrepreneur, businessman and community leader.
Jerry was an active leader in our community, serving as vice president of the Cedar Rapids Jaycees, president of the Cedar Rapids Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the Cedar Rapids City Planning Commission, president of Elmcrest Country Club, chairman of the First Congregational Church Board of Trustees and a longtime member of Cedar Rapids Rotary. He was appointed to the Presidential Scholars Commission by President Jimmy Carter. He ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Cedar Rapids in 1969. He was active in Republican political activities throughout his lifetime.
Jerry is survived by his sons, Steven (Susan) Ovel and G. Scott Ovel, and his daughter, Barbara Lemon, all of Cedar Rapids; and his grandchildren, Chad (Thu) Ovel of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Ryan (Dawn) Ovel, Stacey (Mitch) Crist, Zachary Ovel, Melissa (Matt) Doudna and Jennifer Lemon, all of Cedar Rapids. He also is survived by 12 great-grandchildren and his current partner, Jane Allen, who resided at Keystone Cedars in Cedar Rapids with Jerry.
Following the death of his first wife, Betty, in 1989, Jerry married Audrey Linge. He enjoyed many winters in Pompano Beach, Fla., and summer activities on Abel Island in Guttenberg, Iowa. He enjoyed golf, hunting, fishing and boating on the Mississippi and was a racing enthusiast. He was a private pilot for many years and loved to fly his Beechcraft Bonanza A36. He also was an avid Iowa Hawkeye fan for decades.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Tess Budde; his wife of 43 years, Elizabeth Ann "Betty" Ovel; and his wife of 19 years, Audrey Linge Ovel.
Memorial donations may be directed to the Eastern Iowa Honor Flight.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.cedarmemorial.com. under Obituaries.