William Gerald Jerry Galena, 96, a lifelong resident of Fergus FallsPublished 9:53am Thursday, September 6, 2012 Updated 11:55am Thursday, September 6, 2012
Jerry was born Aug. 7, 1916, and raised in Fergus Falls, the son of William and Gena Galena. Following graduation in 1936 from the Fergus Falls High School, he studied engineering at the Chicago Institute of Technology and Dunwoody College of Technology in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
After receiving a degree in mechanical engineering he returned to Fergus Falls and began work with William Galena & Sons, a plumbing and heating business founded by his father in 1911.
One month after Pearl Harbor, Jerry and his younger brother, Dick Galena, enlisted in the Navy. Jerry was assigned to the USS Stagbush, a net tending and anti-mine vessel, which took part in the Battle of Okinawa.
At Okinawa the ship had the dangerous duty of clearing the mines out of the harbor and laying the nets to provide a safe pathway for the boats bringing in the marines for the first landing. The ship’s duty was completed in December 1945 and he was sent back to the states and honorably discharged.
While stationed in Boston during World War II, Jerry met his wife, Anne E. Noonan. They were married in Boston on Oct. 7, 1944, and after the war returned to Fergus Falls to make their new life and home together.
They purchased a lovely home on Springen Avenue with three acres of beautifully landscaped lawns, gardens and natural woods, which all soon became the favorite playground for the neighborhood children.
Jerry again associated with his father in the plumbing and heating business with offices on Union Avenue and in the mid-1950s, purchased the business.
From the start of business in 1911, to when Jerry retired in 1980, William Galena and Son had either installed the initial plumbing and heating or did the service work for a very large percentage of all the homes in Fergus Falls. The firm also did the initial plumbing and heating for many commercial, industrial, and institutional buildings, schools, nursing homes and clinics in Fergus Falls and throughout Minnesota.
Jerry purchased and operated the Milcare Company, a manufacturing business started by his father, which made the Handy Hoof Trimmer, a patented tool for dehorning and trimming the hooves on cattle and horses. The Company made, distributed and exported the trimmers all over the world.
Jerry was a member of Our Lady of Victory parish, VFW, Elks and volunteered for many projects, including involvement with youth groups and the Boy Scouts.
He and his wife Anne often entertained at their Springen Avenue home. Their dinner parties were always a fun and elegant affair, especially at the holidays and for their annual St. Patrick’s Day dinner party. Ever since he was a young boy, Jerry loved to spend his summers with family and friends at the family cottage on Otter Tail Lake.
Preceding him in death were his parents; his wife of 45 years, Anne E. Galena; brother, Dick Galena; and sister, Margaret Metcalf. He is survived by his son, Richard J. Dick Galena of White Bear Lake; his sister, Patricia M. McCarthy of Woodbury; nieces and nephews; and many friends.
His son, Dick Galena, says of his father, Dad was a wonderful husband and father, who worked very hard to provide for his family, and help support his church and community. He was a true gentleman of the first order. His business ethics were much admired and his kindness, gentle ways, and good nature warmed all who knew him.
Memorials are preferred to Fergus Falls Public Library or OLV School Library, Fergus Falls.
Visitation: One hour prior to the service at the church
Service: 11:30 a.m. Friday, at Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church, Fergus Falls
Clergy: Father Greg Paffel, Father Bill Gamber, and Deacon Chuck Kampa
Burial: St. Otto’s Cemetery in Fergus Falls, with military honors provided by the Fergus Falls VFW Post 612 and American Legion Post 30
Funeral Home: Olson Funeral Home, Fergus Falls
Condolences may be sent online at www.olsonfuneralhome.comm