At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Right to Life of Michigan
2340 Porter St SW
Wyoming, MI 49519
Lamont Christian School
5260 Leonard St
Coopersville, MI 49404
Life Story / Obituary
Loving, honest, and outgoing, Dr. Gerald "Jerry" Jay Deters lived a life rich in faith, family, and friends. A man who embodied the principles of his faith, Jerry welcomed each day as a gift and every person as a friend. Keenly aware of the challenges others faced, he generously gave his gifts in hopes of affording comfort and support. He also consciously acknowledged others, especially going out of his way to thank veterans for their service. A man of his word, the "Great Dr. Deters", was devoted to his family, friends, and patients. Revered and cherished by many, Jerry will long be remembered and so very missed.
1948 proved a year of continued celebration of the end of World War II. As America's heroes eagerly returned home, a renewed spirit and hope filled the air. American prosperity grew like no other time in our history. The Greatest Generation soon proliferated, creating the age of the Baby Boomers. In Grand Rapids, Michigan, the cause for celebration grew even greater for Gerald and Dorothy (Vander Meulen) Deters as they welcomed their son Jerry into their hearts and home on July 13.
Three years older than his brother Phil, Jerry was a great big brother. He loved to play baseball and with trucks as a boy. Faith was the cornerstone of daily life. The family attended Creston Christian Reformed Church, where Jerry participated in the cadets program. He and his brother also attended Creston Christian schools. Jerry's father worked as a pharmaceutical salesman, while his mother was a homemaker.
During his teen years, Jerry worked at Daane's Grocery store on Plainfield Ave., learning the fine art of balancing work and academics. After graduating from Grand Rapids Christian High School, Jerry continued his education at Calvin College. With hard work and focus, he graduated with a degree in chemistry in 1970 before beginning dental school at the University of Michigan. Once again, Jerry's dedicated studies resulted in fulfilling his dream to become a dentist and graduating in 1974.
While still in school, Jerry spent his summer breaks in Grand Rapids working at Old Kent Bank in the repossession department. In June 1971, he invited co-worker Robin London to lunch at Mr. Fables on Division St. Over lunch, they learned they had much in common, and they continued to date for three years. Over their courtship, Robin made trips to Ann Arbor to Jerry, and he came home on some weekends and during summers. With their hearts set on building a future together, the happy couple married on October 4, 1974, at Calvin College Chapel. They celebrated their nuptials with a reception at Finial Restaurant before setting off on their honeymoon to Hawaii.
The newlyweds settled into married life in a townhouse on Carrier Creek Blvd. before purchasing their family home on Banbury Ave NE. Here they were blessed to grow their family, joyfully welcoming daughters Kristin and Jennifer into their lives. Jerry proudly led his family with both unwavering commitment and plenty of fun. He was a quick-witted jokester who often inspired the girls' laughter. The family enjoyed trips to Traverse City, Mackinac City, and the Upper Peninsula. Frequent trips to Clyde's in St. Ignace for chocolate milkshakes always proved memorable. They also enjoyed spending Spring Break in Brandenton, Florida. As the girls grew into adulthood, they learned to rely on Jerry's steadfast availability and support; he was a trustworthy confidant for the girls. In time, he became a great father-in-law to his two "sons," Joshua and Eric, and a cherished "Boppa" to his five beloved grandchildren. He relished being a grandfather and showered Addison, Hudson, Emerson, Landon, and Alyssa with abundant affection and much silliness.
In 1975, Jerry opened his dental practice which operated from different offices, two on Alpine Avenue and the most recent office on 3 Mile NW. . Though he shared office space over the years, he had his own practice and did his own "dental cleanings." Pat West served as his trusted chairside assistant for 20 years. Working long, dedicated hours, Jerry treated many longtime patients and several generations, building a successful practice for forty years. In 2015, after honorably serving his community for 40 years, Jerry retired.
In addition to his family and career, Jerry possessed a deep love for cars, motorcycles, and racing. He loved his Corvettes, especially his 1967 Corvette, sport bikes, and Harleys. Many happy hours were spent at Grattan Raceway, Martin Drag Races, and GingerMan Raceway in South Haven. The family also enjoyed crossing the Big Lake on the Badger to attend and partake in the events held at Elkhart Lake – Road America in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, a world-class motorsports facility. Jerry also enjoyed golfing and building models.
Whether serving his fellowship family at Grace Reformed Church or Beckwith Hills CRC, his patients, family, or friends, greeting a stranger as a new friend, or facing a challenge, Jerry lived from the heart, choosing faith and hope at every turn. In so doing, he proved a powerful role model for all who were blessed to know him. Though our days with him were far too few, each moment was a gift we will long celebrate.
Dr. Gerald "Jerry" Deters, age 74, passed away January 4, 2023, and is now with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, after a short battle with brain cancer. His wife of 48 years survives, as do their daughters, Kristin and Joshua Kol of Marne and their children, Addison, Hudson, and Emerson; Jennifer and Eric Klaasen of Grand Rapids and their children, Landon and Alyssa; brother, Phil and Jane Deters of Grand Rapids; and sister-in-law, Pat and Roy Walker of West Palm Beach, FL.
A funeral service will be held Tuesday, January 10, 2023, at 1 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW. Friends may visit with family on Monday from 2-4 or 6-8 PM or beginning at Noon on Tuesday. Interment will be in Fairplains Cemetery. Memorials may be made to Right to Life of Michigan or Lamont Christian School. To read more of Jerry's life story, to leave a memory or condolence, please visit www.heritagelifestory.com.