OTTUMWA — Gerald "Jerry" Joseph Bissell, 73, of West Des Moines, formerly of Ottumwa, passed away July 18, 2013 after a two-year battle with lung cancer.
Jerry was born on July 6, 1940 in Ottumwa to Vernon and Barbara Bissell who preceded him in death. He graduated in 1958 from Ottumwa Walsh High School and received a bachelor's degree in education from Missouri State University and post-graduate work from the University of Iowa. Following graduation he began his career as a high school teacher and lead varsity basketball coach at Allison Bristow High School, Cherokee Immaculate Conception, Dowling Catholic High School and Davenport Assumption.
In 1972, Jerry changed careers and became a sales rep for Xerox Corporation and later a sales manager in Des Moines. In 1983 he became co-owner of Marcon Service LTD., headquartered in Des Moines with offices in Omaha and Lincoln, Neb., and Dallas, Texas, as well as two commercial print shops in Ames and Ankeny. After the sale of the company in 1997 and retiring a year later, he and his wife, Bonnie, enjoyed traveling.
Jerry and Bonnie Burke were high school sweethearts in Ottumwa and married in 1961. From this union three wonderful sons were born.
The Saint Louis Cardinals and Iowa Hawkeyes have lost one of their biggest fans. He spent many happy times in these stadiums with his family. Jerry was also an avid reader – never without a book.
Surviving Jerry are his wife of 51 years, Bonnie; sons: Craig (lady friend Jane) of Prairie Village, Kan., Kent (Monica) of Plano, Texas and Kyle (Michelle) of Adel; grandchildren whom he adored: Branden (Brooke) and Shannen; and the newest member of the family — great-granddaughter Brynlenn Jean. Also, his sister Sue of Austin, Texas; brother, Tom of Clive; two nephews, Chad and David; two nieces, Jennifer and Colleen and their children; as well as numerous nieces and nephews on Bonnie’s side.
The family will receive friends from 1-3 p.m. Saturday at Iles Funeral Homes – Westover Chapel in Urbandale. Per Jerry’s wishes, cremation will be accorded following visitation.
The family would like to express their thanks to Dr. Dan Buroker and his nurses Amy and Cheryl and the staff at Unity Point Hospice for their dedicated care to the family.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that memorial contributions be made to the Ronald McDonald House in Des Moines.