August 19, 2010

(11/3/1921 - 6/23/2010)

Gerald Franklin Speer of Redding, California died unexpectedly on June 23, 2010 at Shasta Regional Hospital in Redding.  He was 88 years old.

Jerry (Hacky) was born November 3, 1921 to Lena Burns Speer and John Speer in Lancaster, Missouri.  He grew up in Lancaster where he graduated from high school and enjoyed playing basketball.

In his early twenties, he moved to California where he reunited with his high school sweetheart, Mae Kelso of Downing, Missouri.  They married soon after and later had two daughters, Vicki and Margie.  He also then began his long career in the mortuary and cemetery business.  He worked for several mortuaries until he found a job with Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood, California.  Jerry worked there for nearly 20 years until he was asked to open two cemeteries and mortuaries in Northern California.  When that job was successfully completed, he and Mae moved back to their home in southern California where he worked and retired from Mountain View Cemetery in Pasadena.

After his retirement, Jerry moved back to Lancaster to assist in caring for his ailing mother, Lena.  After her death, he was preparing to move back to California when he ran into a high school friend, Lillian (Mitch) Forsythe.  They eventually ended up marrying and living part time in Lancaster and the winter months in Phoenix, Arizona.  They enjoyed traveling and spending times with both families.

Jerry eventually moved to Redding, California in 2004 to be close to his daughter and son-in-law.  He enjoyed living in Redding these past few years spending lots of time with his daughter, son-in-law and their host of pets.  He housesat often for the two dogs and two cats that he so enjoyed.  But, Lancaster was always where he considered his home.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Lena and John Speer; wives, Mae Kelso Speer and Lillian (Mitch) Forsythe Speer; daughter, Vicki Speer and brother, Edwin Speer.  He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Margie and Jerry Stolze and niece, Patty Speer.

A graveside memorial service will be held on Friday, August 27, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. at the Arni Memorial Cemetery in Lancaster, Missouri with Leanna vanZandt, pastor of the United Methodist Church of Lancaster, Missouri officiating.  Local arrangements are under the direction of the Norman Funeral Home of Lancaster, Missouri.

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