Gerald F. Eichenberger, 70
Gerald F. Eichenberger, age 70 of New Hampton, died peacefully at his home on Wednesday, June 30, 2021.
Funeral services will be held at 1:00 p.m. Thursday, July 8, 2021, at the Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home and Crematory in New Hampton with Rev. Doug Harvey of Harvest Church presiding along with Chaplain Mike Reicherts.
Friends may greet the family 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, July 7, 2021, at the Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home and Crematory in New Hampton. Visitation continues an hour prior to the service at the funeral home on Thursday. Online condolences for the Eichenberger family may be left at hugebackfuneralhome.com. 641-394-4334
Gerald Francis Eichenberger was born on May 22, 1951, to Sylvester and Elizabeth (Franzen) Eichenberger at St. Joseph Hospital in New Hampton. Jerry was raised on a family-operated dairy and crop farm just outside the city. Growing up, he could be found helping his parents with plenty of chores ranging from milking cows to working in the fields. He attended St. Joseph’s Catholic school and later attended New Hampton High School. In high school, he was a member of the school’s FFA chapter and was also a member of the graduating Class of 1969, the first class to receive their diplomas in what was then the “new” high school. After graduating, Jerry worked at Bud Ransom’s feed mill. In 1974 he started a small farming operation. He worked hard raising hogs leading to a farrow to finish hog operation. He also spent the next 12 years working as a farmhand for Alvie Gilbert. Jerry later started his 22-year career at TriMark. During this time he bought some additional ground and farmed 80 acres, eventually making the Eichenberger Farm organic.
Jerry met Judy Springmier one day in 1971, outside the Sweet Shop in downtown New Hampton. They got to talking, he offered her a ride home, and soon were dating. The couple fell in love and on Sept. 8, 1973, they were married at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in New Hampton. Together they made their home on an acreage just outside of New Hampton.
The couple was blessed with four children; Dana, Jeremy, Adam, and Kristy. Jerry’s kids grew up with a father who worked hard, who could fix anything, and who was a perfectionist making sure things were done well. He took “Jerry-rigging” literally. Jerry expected his children to put maximum effort into everything they did, yet they knew that their father would do just about anything for them.
Jerry was an outstanding craftsman and had many talents. He loved woodworking and turned a house into their family home. He was often found fixing machinery, buildings, fences, and working around the farm. Recently he spent time sharing God’s word, gardening, creating a variety of wood projects, helping his family and most recently being a caretaker for his mother-in-law, Adala.
He was raised a Catholic and later in life became very devoted to his faith. He worked his way to being a third-degree member of Knights of Columbus and also attended several church-sponsored retreats. When Jerry and his family began attending what was then First Baptist Church and now Harvest Church he continued to study God’s word and grow in his faith. He devoted himself to serving God and sharing His word with all that would listen. He took part in two mission trips — one to Haiti and one to Jamaica — and he believed it was our responsibility to show God’s tangible love for the people of the world.
In 2007, Jerry was in a horrific farm accident — one that put him in a coma for almost three weeks — and doctors counseled his wife and children that they should stop life-saving efforts, but they believed Jerry’s health was in God’s hands, and God gave Jerry 14 more years to make a difference. The farm accident caused Jerry to suffer a traumatic brain injury, yet God healed him and he went on to earn an Associate of Biblical Studies degree from Charis Bible College in Minneapolis. He was indeed a “walking miracle.”
Jerry was a workaholic in some ways, but his efforts were always done to better the lives of his family and community. He was the gardener in the family; Judy was the canner, and the Eichenbergers enjoyed the bounties of their efforts for years.
He was a proud grandpa to 12 grandchildren. He spent many hours with Eli and Emmett on the farm making countless memories and showing them how much Grandpa loved them.
His loss was so sudden, yet despite the tears and the heartache, his wife, his children, his grandchildren, and his close friends know that Jerry’s faith tells them that, today, he is in God’s home in heaven and they look forward to the day they will be reunited.
Gerald is survived by his wife, Judy Eichenberger of New Hampton; two sons, Jeremy (Heather) Eichenberger of New Hampton, Adam (Miranda) Eichenberger of New Hampton; two daughters, Dana Eichenberger of New Hampton, Kristy (Josh Bracken) Eichenberger of Waterloo; 12 grandchildren, Eli, Emmett, Noah, Aleah, Jennifer, Caleb, Seth, Matthew, Luke, Phillip, Elizabeth, and Owen Eichenberger, all of New Hampton; two brothers, Gary (Vi) Eichenberger of Ionia; Ronald Eichenberger of Tennessee; three sisters, Rosemary (LaVern) Testorff of Fredericksburg, Bernadette (Don) Dixon of New Hampton, Carol (Terry) Erion of Denver; one half brother, Dale (Sue) Eichenberger of Robbins; mother-in-law, Adala Springmier of New Hampton; sister-in-law Janice Lemke-Springmier of Georgia, brother-in-law Lynn (Karen) Springmier of New Hampton; numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; two sisters, Marilyn (in infancy) and LaVonne Drilling; his father-in-law Russel Springmier; sister-in-law Joanne (Springmier) Roberts and some nieces and nephews.