We’ve Moved! 400 Hammond Road West

Jerry McMillen

June 15, 1939 - September 29, 2020
Traverse City, MI


Life Story / Obituary


Jerry N McMillen died in his home on September 29, 2020 at the age of 81.

Jerry was born in Frankfort, MI on June 15, 1939, to Chester George McMillen and Emily Ruth (Grant) McMillen. He grew up in Benzonia Michigan on a farm and graduated from Benzonia High School in 1960. Shortly after, he married Geraldine Kreiser and moved to Grawn, Mi. They later divorced. Jerry worked at Chef Pierre where in 1969 he met and married the love of his life, Bernetta Gay Burkholder. After retiring in 1979, he turned his lifelong love of woodworking into a business crafting beautiful, one-of-a-kind tables, clocks, cutting boards, and trivets which he and Bernetta sold at craft shows across Northern Michigan.

Jerry enjoyed all manner of outdoor pursuits, including hunting, fishing, camping, shooting, and golfing. He and Bernetta traveled far and wide to enjoy the outdoors--he hunted bear in the U.P.,caribou in Canada and elk, badgers and prairie dogs out west. Jerry bagged numerous deer here in MI. He also participated in and placed high in target shooting competitions and golf tournaments. He fished many of the lakes across Michigan and took his grandchildren tubing, fishing, and canoeing. He tricked his overly talkative granddaughters into being quiet a time or two--"we have to be quiet so we don't scare away the fish" while fishing in a Northern Michigan river.

As Jerry and Bernetta grew older, they embraced the title of snowbirds as they escaped the Michigan winters by traveling to warmer climates in their RV making long-lasting friends in many of the parks in which they stayed and at camping rallies they attended.

Jerry is survived by his brothers, Fred (Deni) McMillen and David (Karen) McMillen, step-daughters, Debbie (Ray) Pahl, Sue (Jim) Nelson, step-son Gary Burkholder, 5 grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild. He is preceded in death by his parents and his beloved wife of 50 years, Bernetta, who passed away in December 2019.

The family will be having a private memorial service. Donations in Jerry's memory may be made to the American Red Cross.

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