Jerry Dean Boggs
Jerry Dean Boggs, 80, of La Crosse, Wisconsin, passed away September 15, 2023, after his long battle
with Parkinson’s disease. Born on December 19, 1942, in La Farge, Wisconsin, he left a lasting impact
on everyone fortunate enough to know him.
Jerry brightened the lives of those around him with his kind heart, sharp wit, amazing smile, and
infectious laughter. If you knew him, you know he could tell a story that would make you laugh until
your sides hurt. His drive and determination matched his sense of humor. He went after every goal
with positivity and tenacity and taught his students, daughters, and grandkids that their dreams were
achievable with hard work.
Jerry grew up in the beautiful Kickapoo River Valley living on a farm where he gained a love for nature
and the outdoors. He began his education at a one-room schoolhouse near La Farge. After graduating
high school, Jerry joined the Air Force. His Air Force career had an auspicious start, Jerry crossed paths
with Marilyn Monroe on his way to basic training. Marilyn even blew him a kiss as she walked by and
Jerry knew he wasn’t in La Farge anymore. Jerry was stationed at Chicksands Air Force Base in the UK,
where he got the opportunity to attend IBM School and be one of the first to master the emerging IT
field. He used his tech skills to track Russian submarines during the Vietnam War. His Air Force career
ended the day President Kennedy was shot, delaying his exit as he stood at attention waiting for the
plane carrying the President’s body.
After the Air Force and with his new IT skills, Jerry’s professional journey began at the University of
Wisconsin, La Crosse, leading their newly formed IT Department. It is here he met his future wife,
Nettie, who was working in his computer lab processing grades with a very large mainframe and punch
cards. Jerry impressed Nettie with his sharp looks, intellect, and cool convertible. Later he moved to
head up the IT Department at Western Wisconsin Technical College, steering countless students towards
success in the early days of the IT world.
When he wasn’t busy cracking jokes or revolutionizing the tech world, Jerry adored the thrill of fast cars,
especially his beloved Corvette. Jerry’s interests extended far beyond just cars. He had a knack for
finding hidden treasures in the great outdoors, particularly when it came to morel mushroom hunting.
With his keen eye and quick reflexes, he could spot morels from a moving car. Jerry was an avid runner.
Maybe more challenging than the marathons he ran, Jerry would run down Granddad’s Bluff to work
and then back up after working all day.
Jerry was dedicated to his family and raised two daughters with Nettie. He made every day special for
his daughters, who he nicknamed Janine Jo from CoCoMo and Tina Bug, and would wake up early to
have breakfast with them before school. On special days he would take them for donuts at Mr Ds.
There were many memorable family trips. Jerry, liked a good deal and so anywhere kids ate free was
always on the trip itinerary. He was a sought-after storyteller in the Arbor Hills neighborhood, where
kids would beg him to tell his tales about the Arbor Hills Boogey Man. He set high standards for his
daughters and spent time teaching them IT skills. The IT skills did not stick, but his focus on the
importance of education and doing your best at all you do is part of the legacy he left his kids and
Jerry’s dedication to his community was unparalleled. He wore many hats, serving as the President of St.
Paul’s Lutheran Church, leading the Optimist Club, making dreams come true for hospitalized youth, and
teaching IT at the Senior Citizen Center. He truly had a heart of gold, always going above and beyond to
make La Crosse and the world a better place.
Survived by his devoted and loving wife, Jeannette Boggs, his daughter Janine Foster and son-in-law
Norman Foster, his grandson Finn Foster, his daughter Tina Harnage and son-in-law Kris Harnage, and
his granddaughter Georgia Harnage, Jerry leaves behind a family who will miss him dearly. Jerry was
preceded in death by his mother Juanita Puder, and stepfather Floyd Boggs.
Jerry Dean Boggs will forever be remembered as a great husband and father, an inspiring teacher and
leader, and the guy who can always make you laugh. His positive spirit, funny stories and witty remarks
remind us to cherish every moment and find humor even in the darkest of times. As we bid him farewell,
let’s celebrate a life well- lived. You will be forever in our hearts Jerry.
A Visitation and Open House will be held Sunday, October 1, 2023 at 2pm at The Gathering Place, 133 Mason Street Onalaska. Visitation will be followed by Military Honors at
4pm. Memorials can be directed to the Michael J. Fox foundation and the Jerry Boggs Family
Scholarship at Western College in La Crosse.