Gerald James Poltrock, age 95, beloved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on Sunday evening, October 23, 2022.
A courageous, compassionate and wise man, Jerry exemplified integrity, resilience, generosity, kindness and service to others. Born on May 6, 1927 to Ernst and Marie (McNeil) Poltrock, he was a lifelong resident of Kenosha. He spent his youth excelling in academics and sports. Jerry was one of the city’s best known and most versatile athletes competing in football, basketball and baseball. Known as a competitor in the rough, he played many football games while bruised and battered. His aggressive spirit earned him the reputation of a tough athlete who loved to compete. Jerry was drafted by the Chicago Cubs when he was 16 years old, a pursuit that was interrupted by his service in the U.S. Army in World War II. He served in the infantry on his way to the Pacific theater when the war ended and spent the rest of his military service as a psychiatric social worker caring for the sick and injured returning from the war in Europe. This experience helped him later in life raising a large family and on his career with the fire department. Jerry was decorated with the Meritorious Service Award and World War II Victory Ribbon. In 2013 he took an Honor Flight to Washington D.C. with many other veterans, an experience he greatly cherished.
After his military service, Jerry played baseball in the minor leagues for the Sox, Cubs and Yankees. He returned to Kenosha to marry his high school sweetheart, Dorothy Ann Rolbiecki, on January 29, 1949 at St. James Catholic Church. Shortly afterwards, he was hired as a firefighter by the Kenosha Fire Department. He and Dorothy Ann raised a family of 7 children.
Jerry rose through the ranks of the fire department, retiring in 1987 after 38 years of service, the last 9 of which he served as Fire Chief. He also worked for many years part-time with Peter Pirsch. Jerry served on many public safety committees and boards throughout his career and was appointed by Governor Lucey to help set up the state’s 911 system. Jerry attended Gateway and Carthage College. He served as a board member with the KAC and was a member of the Elk’s Club, Rotary Club, Local 414 Professional Firefighter’s and the Wisconsin Fire Chief’s Association. He was a longtime member of St. Mark and St. James churches.
After retirement he and Dorothy Ann became snowbirds retreating to Naples, Florida during the winter months. They enjoyed hosting many pool parties for family and friends at their home in Kenosha during the summertime. When Dorothy Ann became ill in 1998, Jerry’s strength, compassion and character were on display as he became her primary caregiver. She passed away in 1999 after 50 years of marriage. A few years later Jerry bumped into a high school friend and neighbor, Mary Jane Blank, and she became the second love of his life. They enjoyed spending time together, taking trips and dining out. After Mary Jane preceded him in death in 2019, Jerry moved to an assisted living apartment at The Addison. The family gratefully acknowledges the conscientious and compassionate care he received from Katie, Jenna, Camille and the rest of the awesome staff there.
Jerry is survived by his children, Margot (Steve) Workman, Allison (Leland) Fulmer, Amy Poltrock, John (Colleen) Poltrock, Jim (Melissa) Poltrock, and Jerry (Jody) Poltrock; his 11 grandchildren, and his 11 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, his son, Kerry (Sandy) Poltrock, his sisters, Sue, Nora Lee, Polly and his brothers, Tom and Don.
To honor Jerry’s memory the family suggests you follow his example and advice and get off your ass and do something good with your life.
Service Date November 5, 2022
Service Location All Saints Mausoleum
Funeral services honoring Gerald’s life will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, November 5, 2022 at the Piasecki Funeral Home, 3720 39th Ave, Kenosha. WI.
Entombment with full military honors will follow in All Saints Mausoleum.
A visitation for Gerald will be held on Saturday, November 5, 2022 from 9:30 a.m. until the time of the service at the funeral home.