Aged: 88 years

The Story

The Gentle Rogue

Always the philosophical thief
he stole your sorrow with
wove threads of the world in a
warm blanket
to wrap around friends,
A Samaritan who had no use
for crosses and nails,
he always knew he would
but couldn't tell you where,
only that it would be brighter
With the needle of wit
he pierced my inflated ego,
destroying illusions
with such grace that I had to
How I laughed.
At times he helped me across
dark streets,
painting clear crosswalks with
soft words.
There was something in the
sound of his voice
that you could follow and never
lose your way.
He carried...and never
dropped us....

Poem about Jerry by close friend and Poet, Thomas Stetzler
Light a Candle

Upload Photos

Share a photo on the memorial with or without a message.


Upload music file

Upload a music file with or without your message on the memorial.


Share a music video link

Share a music video link with or without your message from Youtube, Dailymotion or Vimeo.

Share a video from the web

Share a video link with or without your message from Youtube, Dailymotion or Vimeo.

A visit to the Sears Tower. My dad and uncle Charlie in this photo.

Shad Holland shared a photo.


When I was 6 years old this man came into our lives. Up until that point, it was my mother doing all she could to bring up two kids on her own, my older sister Valarie and myself. He came into our lives and I instantly bonded with him. He had so much love to give and by the time I was 9 he married my mother. I called him Jerry because as a kid that was what I got used to calling him. But I always thought of him as my dad.

Not long after that my mother and he brought my wonderful little sister (who is way taller than me) Angie into this world.

He was my true father, the one that helped me grow to become the person I am today. Times were not always perfect, but our love and understanding and respect for each other always prevailed. As I gained more personal growth over the last few years my father and I became much closer than we have ever been.

Jerry was someone people never forgot. Every person I hear stories from about him or that I talk to about him says he touched them in a very special way. He cared about everyone and had little to no judgment, even for people society has already written off. He had a much deeper understanding of why people become who they are and an even better understanding of the social and political system we all live in. He was never a divider and was always an uniter. I respect that part of him so much and I strive to be that way someday.

I have gained so much wisdom and insight from him. He has helped me be a much more understanding individual and taught me that anger is not something to react on, it is something to learn and grow from. Love wins and always will be stronger and more powerful than hate, anger, and resentment.

And did I mention he was one hell of a golfer?! I found out a little over a week ago that his handicap was -2! His love for golf was equal to my love for bicycles and yes, we picked on each other about it all the time! We both understood each other's passion for the things we enjoyed doing. He taught me how to golf and always enjoyed spending time going to the practice green and playing on the course. We didn't play golf a lot together, but when we did it was always some of my best times with him.

I have so many things I would like to say. Shit, I could tell our whole life story right here on Facebook, but I think I have said enough for now.

He passed away last night (March 2nd). Over the last few weeks, I spent a good amount of time hanging out with him and going over our lives past and present. Heck, I even got to do my 9th Step with him (Al-Anon) last week because he was on my list of people to make amends with. I am so grateful to have been there right until the end and that we spent valuable time together. I am grateful he knew he was loved by us all and that he didn't suffer. Sunday he was up and playing pool with my mother having a wonderful time with her. He lived a full life right until the end.

I will miss your sense of humor, your intelligence, your insight, giving you a hug and your kind words and love.

♥️♥️♥️I love you Dad!♥️♥️♥️

Shad Holland


I am forever grateful for the positive impact my dad had on our family. He had a huge heart and made a point to make everyone he encountered feel special. He lived in the moment and was a great listener. He was driven to understand as much as he could about the world, was well read, and had a memory like an elephant. With his wisdom, wit, and colorful personality, he loved to share his stories and knowledge. I shared many special moments with my dad that I will cherish for the rest of my life. He will be greatly and forever missed.

With love from your daughter,
Valarie Olejnicak

Valarie Olejnicak


My sweet, magical, amazing daddy is gone.

I’d really like it if you were still here, Daddy, and I’m doing this so that some of all the many, many lives you’ve touched in such a profound way (even if you knew them briefly) will have a chance to give a little love in your name if I haven’t had the chance to reach out to them yet.

I feel hugely grateful to have had this astounding man for my father. I know he was 88 and his heart and lungs were getting worse but I wasn’t ready and I want to keep talking with him for the rest of my life, so I will.

If you knew him at all I don’t have to tell you how witty, positive minded, compassionate, curious, and bright he was. You already know because he has already changed your life a little (or a lot of) bit by making you think about yourself, the world, something or someone a little differently, a little deeper. He did it softly and made you laugh about it. You might not have even noticed until later how profoundly it affected you.

I’m sure my daddy had flaws but he was the brilliant, shining, life-giving sun to me. I guess since he’s gone I’ll have to keep working on being that myself as it might be the only way to generate warmth.

Thank you for teaching me that love matters more than pretty much anything. Thank you for waking me up to the aim of mastering being in the present moment, savoring it with all my senses which slows time down and washes away fears. Thank you for inspiring me to grow to always become more self determined, to live from my core and not for fear of others. Thank you for being a living example of all these things and more. These truths are a wealth that reign over all the riches one could have and may hopefully be the key to ending the destruction of unabashed greed stomping on the world.

I am sad. My heart is broken. I am grateful beyond measure to have been able to tell you all this before you left.

Also, Daddy thank you for having always been my cheerleader through everything even years ago when I was living so recklessly in the darkness out of the kind of fear and neediness that makes a person “wacko” as you might say it. Back then, you almost drew out a better me by just seeing the possibility in me instead of my stupidity. All the kind words, all the undying optimism, all your praise - that is what is in my head when I hear your voice. I have you in my heart and mind loving me, forgiving me, proud of me, glad for me, and cheering me on.

I love you endlessly, Daddy.

Angela Emerson