Jerry Carl Fagerstrom
Jerry Carl Fagerstrom, “Punnequraq” 88, died on May 24, 2021 in Bemidji, Minnesota. He was born on September 29, 1932 in Golovin, Alaska to Minnie and John Fagerstrom, the ninth of 12 children. Jerry was raised on the spit in Golovin, his early years spent helping John and Minnie live off the land, fishing, hunting and gathering to sustain their large family and dog team.
In his teenage years he contracted tuberculosis and spent extended time in sanatoriums in Sitka and Tacoma. Due to the severity of his illness, one of his lungs was removed. After his recovery in Alaska, Jerry graduated from Bates Technical College in Tacoma. He spent time working the tugboat Lucille with his dad in Nome before entering a management training program with the Indian Health Service.
While serving as a hospital administrator in Kotzebue, Jerry met Rose Montoya, a registered nurse from Spokane, Washington. They were married on February 23, 1963 in Spokane.
Shortly after their wedding, Jerry transferred to Red Lake, Minnesota to serve as an IHS service unit director. Shortly after the birth of first son Kevin in 1965, Jerry transferred to the Cass Lake IHS facility and the family moved to Bemidji. The house on Bixby was the early home to Kevin, Brian, Alan and Melissa. Jerry loved to take the boys hunting, fishing and boating, imparting a love of the outdoors. One of his favorite activities was deer hunting every year at Pine Island and with the C.P. Maus crew in Red Lake. There were many long road trips in the F85 to visit Rose’s parents in Spokane, as well as trips home to see family in Nome and Golovin.
After more than 30 years with the Indian Health Service, Jerry retired in Bemidji, enjoying golf, casino trips and poker with his card-playing buddies. He was active in the Knights of Columbus, especially enjoying his time with the fish-fry crew. Jerry and Rose were active members of St. Philips’ Parish and maintained lifelong friendships throughout Bemidji, Washington state and Alaska. In recent years, they found great joy in their grandchildren, following their activities and accomplishments.
Jerry is preceded in death by his parents John and Minnie; his 11 siblings Ernest Burgh, Floyd, Myrtle Johnson, Maggie Olson, Gladys, Joyce Tucker, Doris Lincoln, Ruth, John “Jack”, Rose Jones, and Charles; his grandsons John Patrick and Abe.
He is survived by his wife Rose, his sons Kevin (Ginny), Brian (Missy) and Alan (Kelly); daughter Melissa, his five grandchildren Isaac, Ben, Taia, Kira and Remy, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Jerry Fagerstrom, the last of his tribe.
Funeral services were held at 1:00 pm, Tuesday, June 1, 2021 at St. Philip’s Catholic Church in Bemidji, MN. Visitation was one hour prior to the service. Interment took place at the Holy Cross Cemetery in Bemidji, MN under the direction of the Cease Family Funeral Home in Bemidji.
Condolences may be left at ceasefuneralhome.com.