Gerald “Jerry” Robert Slattery passed away on Friday, November 4, 2022 in Shakopee, MN at age 83.
Jerry was born in Waseca, MN on February 28, 1939 to Robert William and Luella Margaret Slattery (neé Miller) and raised on the family farm with an older sister and two younger brothers, William (“Bill”) and John at the end of the Great Depression.
As a child, Jerry had a deep love for cowboys and The Wild West, devotedly watching episodes of The Lone Ranger and creating colorful collages from magazine clippings. Jerry developed an interest in mathematics, architecture, astronomy, and engineering in his studies at Waseca High School (class of 1957), graduating with All-State honors. He participated in football, wrestling, and track-and-field at Waseca High School, and in his senior year, he found success as an athlete in three areas: in football, as a fullback and lead-scorer who brought an undefeated team to victory in the South Central Conference championship; in track, as part of a team winning the conference championship; and in wrestling, as the team’s co-captain, undefeated the entire season before placing 3rd in the State Tournament.
Determined to leave his life on the farm behind, Jerry enrolled at Mankato State College (class of 1961) where he continued to study math and sciences while maintaining a successful athletic career. Jerry was a three-time conference wrestling champion at Mankato State, wrestling at 177 lbs. In his second year, he won All-American honors and the Mankato State team won the NAIA National Championship, for which he and his teammates were inducted into the Mankato State Athletic Hall of Fame. In his third year, he placed 6th at 167 lbs in the NCAA Division I Tournament, and in his senior year, he was captain of the team.
Jerry continued to wrestle after completing his undergrad, and in 1964, he won the zone trial at 171.5 lbs. He went on to compete in the final Olympic Trials at the 1964 New York World’s Fair in freestyle competition, winning his first five matches before losing on “black marks”, which counted as a penalty if the match was won by a decision rather than a pin. On his way to the trials finals, Jerry defeated four previous USA Pan-American champions as well as a wrestler who won a gold medal in the 1960 Olympics. Jerry retired from wrestling in 1967 at age 28.
In 1968, Jerry received his Master’s Degree in Mathematics from Mankato State. He landed his first job teaching mathematics and coaching wrestling at Willmar High School and Willmar Community College. He soon left Willmar for Richfield where he taught mathematics, coached, and officiated high school wrestling at Richfield High School for 32 years. During this time, he became a nationally ranked water skier in the trick-skiing events. Jerry was a six-time Minnesota State Trick Champion, and placed Second in the USA Nationals in Berkeley, CA in 1977. In the 1970s, he founded Jerry’s Ski School in Prior Lake, MN, and he owned a commercial marina on the lake. In 1983, he retired from trick skiing as a result of injury at the age of 44.
Jerry retired from his final professional careers of teaching and coaching in 1999. He had a lifelong love for music and spent his retirement years singing and playing the guitar at local elementary schools and retirement homes throughout the Twin Cities. He enjoyed deer hunting, fishing, traveling, and always spoke his mind.
Jerry is survived by four sons, Shawn (Erica Shepard) Bachinski of Bloomington, MN, Eric (Angie) Bachinski of Elko, MN, Brent Slattery of Huntington Beach, CA, and Jacob (Matthew Hayden) Slattery of New York City; brother Bill (Jackie) Slattery of Crosby, MN and sister-in-law Jean Slattery of Waseca, MN; and several beloved nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Dorothy Kaupa, brother John, and numerous others on both sides of his family.
Visitation will be from 4:00 – 7:00 PM on Thursday, November 10, 2022 at the Third Street Chapel of Dennis-Steffel-Omtvedt Funeral Homes in Waseca. Visitation will continue for one hour prior to the service at the church on Friday.
Mass of Christian Burial will be at 1:00 PM on Friday, November 11, 2022 at Sacred Heart Church in Waseca with Fr. The Hoang officiating. Interment will follow at Calvary Cemetery in Waseca.
Friday, November 11, 2022
12:00 - 1:00pm (Central time)
Friday, November 11, 2022
Starts at 1:00pm (Central time)