REEDSBURG, Wis. — Gerald L. Downing, 77, of Reedsburg passed away Friday, Dec. 8, 2017, at the Sauk County Health Care Center.

He was born Jan. 21, 1940, in Hillsboro, the son of Carl and Margaret (Gasper) Downing. Jerry grew up in the Hillsboro area and attended a one room elementary school, where he was taught by his mother for a couple of years. He later attended a Catholic elementary school in Mauston, before graduating from high school in Tomah in 1958. On June 19, 1965, Jerry was united in marriage to Jeanette M. Rettler in West Bend, Wis. There he worked for JC Penney for a time before moving to Dodgeville, where he owned and operated a shoe store. In 1985, Jerry and Jean moved to Lancaster, where he became employed at Land’s End. In 1994, they moved to Reedsburg, where he continued to work at Land’s End until his retirement. Jerry had a strong faith, and was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Reedsburg and was a former president of the Lancaster Lions Club. He was also a member of the police and fire commission. He was a member of a bowling league and enjoyed hunting, walleye fishing especially the fishing trips with family to Canada and to Alaska, where he reeled in a world class halibut, and camping with family and friends. He was fiercely committed to his family and cherished the time they spent together. Jerry loved all the Wisconsin sports.

He was preceded in death by his parents; father and mother-in-law, Leo and Ascella Rettler; niece, Lori Klos; sisters-in-law, Elaine (Paul) Steger and Bernice Rettler.

Jerry is survived by his wife, Jeanette of Reedsburg; children, Douglas Downing of Harlem, Ga., David Downing of Madison, Wis., Kelley (Laurence) Steiner of Madison, and Sara (Eric) Powell of Concord, Calif.; grandchildren, Catin, Braze, and Aybria Downing, and Ellie Steiner; brothers and sisters, Patricia (Edward) Klos, Marjory (John) Pflaum, Thomas Downing, Janet (Thomas) Hanley, James (Lois) Downing, Carla Downing, Joseph (Joyce) Downing; many nieces, nephews; along with other relatives and friends.

A Mass in celebration of Gerald’s life was conducted at noon Wednesday, Dec. 13, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Reedsburg, with Father David Carrano officiating. Visitation was held from 10 a.m. until the time of the service Wednesday at the church. Burial will take place at a later date in La Grange Cemetery, rural Tomah. The Farber Funeral Home is assisted the family with the arrangements.

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