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Mass of Christian Burial for Gerald McNally, age 85, of Tilden, Nebraska will be 10:30 a.m. Saturday, October 23, 2021, at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church in Tilden, with a 10:00 a.m. Rosary. Reverend Pat Nields will be Celebrant, with private burial in St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in Tilden.

Military Honors will be provided by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7603, American Legion Post, 170, and American Legion Riders.

Brockhaus-Harlan Funeral Home in Tilden is in charge of arrangements.

Gerald Jerome McNally passed away in Tilden, Nebraska on October 7th, 2021. A lifelong collector and teller of stories, Jerry’s story started in the small town of Menominee, Nebraska, where he was born on August 13th, 1936, to James and Ida McNally. Jerry graduated from Bloomfield High School and enlisted in the United States Navy. He was stationed with the Atlantic fleet. Because of his typing skills, he was assigned to work as a telegraph operator and in the mail room, which enabled him to go to shore at many different ports. He particularly enjoyed Havana and Rome.

After honorably discharging from the service, Jerry returned to Bloomfield. There, he met Jeanne Kolls. As he would often say, whether looking right at her or going through old pictures, “isn’t she beautiful?” Jerry and Jeanne were wed on April 4th, 1959. Jeanne was Jerry’s rock and the love of his life. Upon that love, they built a family, welcoming son, Michael and daughter, Terry.

Service to others was Jerry’s life-long mission. After marrying Jeanne, Jerry went to school in Minnesota to become a laboratory and x-ray technician and began his medical career in Hoxie, Kansas. He then furthered his education at Wichita State University, graduating as a member of their first ever physician’s assistant class. As a physician’s assistant, Jerry was driven to help others, that meant he and Jeanne shared their time, energy, and skills in a variety of communities. Jeanne learned early on to set an extra dinner plate out, as she never knew who Jerry would be bringing home.

In addition to his medical career, Jerry often volunteered on rural fire departments and as an EMT. He and Jeanne served in the Peace Corps and were stationed in Belize. After “retiring” the couple continued to serve others, volunteering at Orphan Grain Train. At the age of seventy, Jerry became a state licensed foster father, and continued to serve his community and its children in that capacity for several years.

Jerry was a strong believer that life was meant to be lived. He cultivated a vast array of talents and interests. He was not afraid to pursue new adventures and was always willing to put in the time and effort to become good at what piqued his interest.

Most of these interests included his family, as family was the center of Jerry’s life. Mike and Terry spent many summers camping with their parents, going arrowhead hunting, and riding motorcycles with their dad. Jerry also had a special place in his heart for animals. McNally dogs and cats were frequently included in family adventures and always in family stories and Jerry was known to use his medical skills to help wild animals that were injured. While he filled his life with adventure, Jerry was just as happy to sit at the kitchen table after a shared family meal with a cup of tea, and a deck of cards, so long as he was surrounded by his loved ones.

Jerry was the world’s best grandpa. His grandchildren were spoiled rotten with his time, talents, and love. Many hours were spent in hammocks Grandpa Jerry set up. He drove his grandsons on grasshopper hunting expeditions, mended nets for minnow saning adventures, planned canoe trips, read himself hoarse with Nancy Drew, Hank the Cowdog and Harry Potter story times, built hot wheels racetracks, taught driving and bread making lessons, hosted TV nights, and attended countless school and church activities. He also made, and shared, the best sandwiches.

Left to savor the memories of a life fully lived are his wife of 62 years, Jeanne; his son and daughter-in-law, Dr. Michael McNally and Dr. Annette Cserna of Lincoln; daughter and son-in-law, Terry and John Larson of Tilden; grandchildren, Danielle (Tyler) Fliam, Dr. Abby Larson, Case, and Cole McNally; his brother, James (Roxanne) McNally of Neligh; and sister, Mary Ellen Klein of rural Elgin.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Raymund McNally; and brother-in-law, Ralph Klein.

 

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