Jerome G. Hall, age 85, of Coopersville, passed away Sunday, June 18, 2023. Jerry was known for his humor, generosity of time and self, and lifelong love of trains and bulldogs. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Jerry attended the private boys’ University School in Shaker Heights, OH. He then earned his bachelor’s from The University of the South in Tennessee and a master’s degree from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. He also studied multiple times at Oxford University in Oxford, England. Jerry began his 28-year education career teaching upper elementary in the Cleveland area where he earned special accolades for bringing computer programming to his classroom in the mid-1960s. In 1968 he married Patricia, his wife of 51 years until her death in early 2020, and in 1971 he took a job as assistant elementary school principal at Coopersville Public Schools and moved his family to Coopersville, MI. During his 18 years at Coopersville Schools, he served as teacher, administrator, and coach. After taking an early retirement, he became a volunteer, writer, and small business owner (painting).
In 1975 Jerry bought the home where he subsequently lived 48 years because he needed a basement in which to build his model train layout. Multiple generations of excited children and adults have visited the detailed miniature world that is his Bulldog Lines railroad housed underneath most of that Henry Street house, and even in his last months, he continued to host his railroader friends for operating sessions and therefore “played trains” until just a couple weeks before his death. Jerry was an active member of the National Model Railroaders Association, serving as regional registrar, publishing articles in their magazine, and holding open houses for his layout the years the convention came to Grand Rapids. He enjoyed real-life rail travel across North America and in Europe, and he was active in outdoor sports like canoeing, backpacking, and rock climbing. From the late 1980’s until 2022, Jerry also wrote a financial advice column known as “It’s Your Money” and as “It’s God’s Money,” published respectively in The Coopersville Observer and church newsletters.
Jerry joined St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (Grand Rapids) in 1971. There he served 19 years on the Vestry, seven years as Sexton, and 45 years as usher and layreader. He found a later church home at St. John’s Episcopal (Grand Haven) in 2018, quickly joining the Vestry and the Stewardship Committee and renewing his longtime advocacy of spiritual giving. Jerry also served for several years on the boards of the Ottawa County chapter of the American Cancer Society and of the James Whittemore Foundation, worked as well as chaired local elections, and logged 7900 hours volunteering for the American Red Cross.
Jerry is remembered with so much love by his daughters Donna-Lee Mattison of Mobile, AL, and Carolyn Hall of Coopersville, MI; grandchildren Ashten (Kaylee) Stanford and Blair Hall; brother Thomas Hall; nephew Carl (Liz) Hall; longtime friend Stu (Kathy) Stewart; and many more friends. Visitation with the family will be held Friday, July 28, 4:30-6:30pm at Throop Funeral Home, 214 Church St, Coopersville. Funeral services will take place Saturday, July 29, 1:00pm at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 524 Washington Ave, Grand Haven, where Jerry will be interred with his beloved wife Pat in the church’s columbarium. The funeral can be watched virtually live and later at YouTube.com/@SJEGrandHaven/streams. Contributions may be made in Jerry’s name to St. John’s Church or a charity of the donor’s choice.