Jerome "Jerry" Stilwell
Jerome "Jerry" Stilwell of Kadoka, South Dakota, died on Monday, April 25, 2016 at the Hans P. Peterson Memorial Hospital in Philip at the age of 83.
Jerome Lloyd “Jerry” Stilwell was born February 16, 1933, in Philip, South Dakota, the son of Jerome E. and Hilma E. (Johnson) Stilwell. He was baptized and confirmed at the South Creek Lutheran Church. He grew up in the Kadoka area, raised on the ranch east of Kadoka, and attended Flat Top rural school. In the 5th grade he started at Kadoka School, and attended through high school, graduating in 1951.
In February, 1952, Jerry enlisted in the US Navy. He was stationed on the USS Bremerton throughout his military career. He was honorably discharged on February 15, 1956. After his service, he returned to Kadoka, and attended South Dakota State College in Brookings for three years. He returned to Kadoka and worked for the soil conservation service, painted buildings with Don King, and cards with Beef Uhlir.
Jerry was united in marriage to Jo Anne Arends on December 29, 1960, in Philip, South Dakota. They made their home in Philip, where Jerry managed Cal-Gas, and later worked at Dorothy Bros. American Parts for 20 years. Together Jerry and Jo Anne, worked hand in hand in numerous businesses which included owning and operating the Drive In Theater in Philip, as well as the theater in Kadoka, operated the Star Drive Inn for 20 years, and the Gem Theater for 25 years.
In 1989, Jerry and Jo Anne moved to Kadoka and purchased the Hilltop Motel. Later they purchased the Dakota Inn, and the adjoining land. After the closure of a local restaurant in Kadoka, Jerry decided that there was a need for a local restaurant, so they opened Jigger’s Cafe, which they owned and operated until selling the business in April 2016.
Together Jerry and Jo Anne were in business for 54 continuous years. When Jerry had free time, he enjoyed hunting and fishing. Throughout his life, Jerry always enjoyed sports, basketball, baseball, and football, especially SDSU sports. His greatest joy, was spending time with his grandchildren.
Survivors include his wife Jo Anne of Kadoka; one daughter Lori Fitzgerald and her husband Mark of Gillette, Wyoming; three sons Jerome C. “Jerry” Stilwell and his wife Jeanne of Lenoir, North Carolina, James Allen “Jim” Stilwell and his wife Jackie of Kadoka, and Jeffrey Lee “Jeff” Stilwell of Long Island, New York; six grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; one brother Merle Stilwell and his wife Linda of Kadoka; one sister Margaret May of Wasilla, Alaska; several nieces and nephews; and a host of other relatives and friends.
Jerry was preceded in death by his parents; a brother Clark Stilwell; a sister Doris Kerns; and a grandson McKenzie Stilwell.
Memorial services will be held 10:00 a.m. Monday, May 2, at the Concordia Lutheran Church in Kadoka, with a luncheon to follow at the church.
Private family graveside services will be held at the Kadoka Cemetery.