Gerald “Jerry” W. Klaas, 83, Woonsocket, passed away Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022, at Prairie View Care Center, Woonsocket, under Hospice Care, with his family by his side.

A memorial service will be held Friday, Nov. 4, at 1 p.m. at the Spirit of Faith Church, Woonsocket, with inurnment at Eventide Cemetery under the direction of Basham Funeral Service. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service. Lunch will follow at Woonsocket Community Center.

Gerald “Jerry” was born Dec. 5, 1938, to August and Elizabeth (Renner) Klaas at Woonsocket. He was baptized and confirmed in Bethany Lutheran Church.  

Gerald attended Woonsocket High School, graduating in 1957. His career in the newspaper business started at the young age of 14 when he wandered into the Woonsocket News printing plant to watch the press run. Then publisher, Oliver Freed, asked him if he would like a job sweeping floors. That was the beginning of his 50-year career.

He married Gloria Nickelson on July 8, 1961, in Forestburg. They had two children, Timothy and Kimberley.

They purchased the Woonsocket News-Artesian Commonwealth newspapers in 1968 and retired in 2003 after 35 years in the business. 

Gerald was a 25-year member in the Woonsocket Wide-Awake Hose Company, serving in the capacity of Fire Chief for six years, and a 50 plus-year member of AM-FM Lodge No. 79 holding the position of Worshipful Master two different times. He was secretary of the Woonsocket Development Corporation, the Lions Club, the Woonsocket Community Club, and the Sanborn County Extension Board, for which he was chairman one year and a board member four years.  He was also a charter member of the Company A-153rd Battalion National Guard, having joined in 1957. He served eight years, receiving his honorable discharge in 1965.  He was also a member of the Mitchell Elks Lodge.

Jerry loved being with his family and especially going to Jacob and Emma’s farm to feed the tame cows. He also loved camping and fishing.

He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Gloria; two children, Timothy (Lynn) Klaas and Kimberley Wells, both of Woonsocket; grandchildren, Jacob (Emma) Klaas, Chelsea (Chad) Abrahamson, Gabriel (Maria) Wells and Nathan Wells; great-grandchildren, Elsie, Amelia, and Anna Klaas, Jennings Abrahamson and Lina and Aliana Wells; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; one sister, Audrey Schimke; and brother-in-law, Terrence Schimke.

Honorary pallbearers are all his grandchildren.

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