On March 14, 2014, at age 71, Jerome "Jerry" Radack left life as he lived it: with stubbornness, surprise, humor, and love.
Memorial services are 10:00 AM, on Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at the Wintz & Ray Funeral Home in Yankton with Reverend Dani Jo Ninke officiating. Inurnment will be at the Garden of Memories Cemetery in Yankton. The family will receive friends from 6:00 to 8:00 PM, on Monday, March 17 at the Wintz & Ray Funeral Home with a prayer service at 7:00 PM followed by a masonic service by the St. John's Masonic Lodge.
A life-long resident of Yankton, Jerry was born on July 13, 1942 to Darrell and Darlene "Dolly" (Ramsdell) Radack. After graduating from Yankton High School in 1960, he served three years in the Adjutant General Corps of the United States Army in Colorado Springs, Colorado where he and his young wife, Diane (Christopherson) started their family. After he was discharged, they returned to Yankton and he attended the University of South Dakota where he earned a B.A degree in 1967 and a M.A. degree in 1968, followed by post-graduate work at the University of Nebraska.
Jerry was passionate about politics and public service. He served three terms as a South Dakota State Representative in the 1970s where he worked on Education, Health & Welfare and Agriculture and National Resources committees. When you drive by Jerry's house and see the large, home made peace symbol brightly lit with holiday lights, you see that he never lost his desire to activate change - always through intelligent discussion and debate with just a touch of rebellion.
In the early 1990s Jerry found sobriety through Alcoholics Anonymous and was active in AA until the end. His passion for helping people attain sobriety and wipe out "stink'n think'n" drove him to return to school to earn his certification to be a Certified Chemical Dependency Counselor in 2000. He brought what has been described by many as "his no-nonsense straight talk" to hundreds of patients though his work at Lewis & Clark Behavioral Health and the Human Services Center. A box over-pouring with thank-you letters from former patients sits on his closet floor.
During retirement Jerry loved "going for a ride on his cycle," cruising in his 1965 Mustang Fastback and hanging out around town talking to people. In recent years he found daily camaraderie at "The Center," where his mind and soul were fed as much as his body.
From the way he counseled to the way he lived, Jerry loved simplicity. He rode the same motorcycle since 1980. He wore the same leather jacket for no one knows how long. And he had no desire to travel: no exotic vacation could ever trump a day spent drinking coffee, listening to NPR and visiting with a friend.
Jerry is survived by his four children: Cheri (John) Brady of Minneapolis, John (Michelle Schule) of Minneapolis, Jenny (Chuck Nelson) of Saint Paul and Rob (Lillian LaSalle-Radack) of Brooklyn, New York; seven grandchildren: Rachel and Adam Brady, Ezra, Gabriel and Walt Nelson and Lucy and Leo Radack; brother Michael (Susan Page) of Tuscon, Arizona; sister Kathy (Steve) Brick of Gilbert, Arizona; partner Linda Fehlberg of Yankton and her children Andrew and Patrick Nelson and grandchildren Andrew, Breyton, Anassa and Tayden; and former wife Diane Christopherson Radack of Minneapolis.
Memorials can be sent to the Yankton Senior Center.
Messages will be reviewed and posted within 1 business day.
We send our love and prayers and wish we could be with you at this tender time. We have fond memories of our times together, the Brady wedding,Christmas in Denver and times in Mpls. Our love to you all.
Mom and Dad Brady
Sorry to hear of Jerry's passing. He will be missed by many. I always enjoyed visiting with Jerry as he was very articulate & well informed.
With Sympathy. Don Munson
We've grown old knowing Jerry and have many fond memories of him. We had similar political views which meant we always enjoyed talking to him. We are so sorry for your loss and wish we could be with you to celebrate his life.
Bob and Jane Walser
Dear Nelsons and Radacks and family: We are praying for you and thinking about you. Jerry was one of a kind and we will really miss him driving up in his cool car and shooting the breeze with him. God bless all of you.
Marcia and Larry Roepke
My sympathy to Jerry's Family, many YHS memories include Jerry.
So sorry, Curt and I always enjoyed visiting with him..
Curt and Cena Bernard
Jerry had a great free spirit and I always enjoyed talking with him. I will miss him and his sense of humor. Glad I got to see him last summer and wish we could have talked some more. My sympathy to Jenny, Rob, John, Cheri and family.
Dear Family, Stanley and I were saddened to hear the news of Jerry´s death. He was a wonderfully provocative, smart, interesting friend, and we both feel lucky to have known him -- I, from his childhood on, and Stan, in Jerry´s politically savvy adulthood. Our hearts go out to all of you.
Love from Bonnie (Litschewski) and Stan Paulson
Sorry to hear of Jerry passing. He was a good person ,and I enjoyed talking to him from time to time. I am in Maryland now and will miss his funeral. Will miss him as a classmate .
I worked as Jerry's Departmental assistant in Yankton College's History Department in 1970 - 1971. He was an awful nice guy to know and to work for. I am sad to learn of his death. My deepest sympathy to his family and loved ones.
This message is very late but my childhood was filled with memories of visits of Jerry to Illinois and our visits to Yankton. My Mom was Darrell's cousin and mt best friend Sharon Ramsdell was Dolly's sister. I am so sorry for your loss. I can only imagine he was a great husband, father, and Grandfather because he was a terrific kid
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