JERRY (GERALD) L. LeGARDEJerry (Gerald L.) LeGarde of Duluth passed away peacefully on Thursday, May 30, 2013.
Jerry (Gerald L.) LeGarde of Duluth passed away peacefully on Thursday, May 30, 2013.
He was born on Feb. 13, 1929 to Victoria Drouillard and Elias LeGarde.
A member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Jerry spent the early years of his life in Duluth's West End. He joined the military at age 17, where he was a member of the 8th Army's 4th Replacement Battalion at Camp Zama, Japan during the Occupation.
Upon completion of service, he returned to Duluth and wed Patricia Stovern on Feb. 18, 1950. Together they set out on an extraordinary life, raising 14 children through a marriage lasting 63 years. "Big Jer," (as he was known to many) and Pat skillfully raised their unique family of seven boys and seven girls.
An accomplished amateur and professional boxer, Jerry thrilled crowds from Duluth's Shrine Auditorium to the Eveleth Hippodrome in the 1940's and 50's. A clever boxer with speed and power, he later transferred his knowledge of the sport to the coaching ranks. Over a span of more than 30 years, he honed the skills of hundreds of young men at a variety of gyms in the Twin Ports area. Several of his fighters, including five of his own sons, captured regional and state Golden Gloves championships. Jerry himself won coach of the year awards at the National Indian Boxing Tournament (1981) and the Upper Midwest Golden Gloves (1983).
Jerry worked in the painting industry throughout his life, and was a longtime member of Painters Local 106. For nearly four decades, he was the owner of LeGarde Painting and Decorating, operating out of the same West End neighborhood where he was raised. Upon retirement, he enjoyed manicuring his yard, spending time with Pat and following his two favorite teams, the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Twins.
A man of many hobbies, Jerry took part in a variety of recreational activities. An avid horseshoe pitcher, he was a member of the Duluth Horseshoe Club, participating in leagues and tournaments throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. He was proud to have his business sponsor horseshoe, softball and bowling teams.
Jerry also enjoyed distance running, participating in local road races along with many of his children. The Park Point 5 Miler and Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon were two of his favorites, and he ran both beyond his 70th birthday.
Jerry was preceded in death by his parents, brother Tommy and the Drouillard siblings.
He is survived by his wife, Patricia; children Linda (Tim) Grover, Janet LeGarde (Jim Shonk) of Minneapolis, Nancy (Mike) Gerber, Jerry Jr. (Cindy) of Shoreview, Susie (Rick) Menz, Colleen (Steve Warnygora) of Esko, Gail (Dean) Birman, Jeanne (Don) Warttman of Hermantown, Jimmy (Molly) LeGarde of Hermantown, Johnny (Barb) LeGarde of Hermantown, Joey (Laurie) LeGarde of Andover, Denny (Sarah) LeGarde of Hermantown, David LeGarde (Jennifer Hawkins) of St. Paul and Tim (Mandy) LeGarde; grandchildren Brenda Goldfine, Denise McNeil, Abby Johnson, Jenny Shonk, Amy Valentino, Becky Magnuson, Mike (Bubba) Gerber, Gerald LeGarde, Rhiannon LeGarde, Selena LeGarde, Laurie Menz, Derek Menz, Carney Lien, Julie Geissler, Steve Birman, Marlene Manion, Bobby Warttman, Joey Warttman, Elias LeGarde, Lane LeGarde, Jace LeGarde, Nick LeGarde, Gavin LeGarde, James LeGarde, Melissa LeGarde, Christine LeGarde, Ava LeGarde, Stephanie LeGarde and Lauren LeGarde. Jerry also leaves behind 20 great grandchildren, lifelong friend Buck McDonald and the Stovern Family.
The LeGarde Family would like to extend its deepest gratitude to the staff at Diamond Willow (Arbor Rose) in Proctor for their outstanding care over the past two and a half years.
VISITATION: 12:30 p.m. Monday June 3, 2013 until the 2 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial in St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish, 325 East 3rd Street, Duluth. Interment at Calvary Cemetery. Arrangements by Dougherty Funeral Home 727-3555