Created on Saturday, 21 April 2012 12:14 Published Date
Survivors were held April 18, 2012, for Ben F. Gerry, 85, who started the Ben Gerry Insurance Agency in Oregon.
He was born in Rochester, Minn., on Aug. 31, 1926, to Benjamin F. Gerry and Grace Lombard Gerry. Within the year, the family moved to Billings, and he graduated from Senior High School in 1944. He attended Eastern Montana College for one year before serving in the Navy from 1944 through 1946 and again in 1950.
He moved to Oregon in 1953, where he was an insurance investigator. He became the manager of the Lebanon Credit Bureau in 1956 and worked as an independent property and casualty agent for Roland King Insurance for 13 years. He started the Ben Gerry Insurance Agency in Lebanon in 1973, which eventually merged with Rhodes-Warden Insurance in 1990. He retired in 1993.
He had been president of the Lebanon Jaycees and was in the Lebanon Lions Club and the Wigwam Wisemen, a sports booster club. He was selected as Junior First Citizen in 1960 and Man of the Year in 1974.
Mr. Gerry was active in the Oregon Professional Insurance Agents Association, serving on the Board of Directors for many years, and as state president in 1982 and 1983. He was selected as Oregon Agent of the Year in the 1980s. He was a member of the Lebanon Volunteer Fire Department, and was active in planning the Senior High Class of ’44 reunions.
He worked for more than 20 years as a basketball and football official in Oregon and Montana. He belonged to Pineway Golf Club in Lebanon for many years, and was a charter member of Mallard Creek Golf Club. He joined Pryor Creek Golf Club in 2000.
His wife, Jane, died in February 2000, and he moved back to Billings in 2001. In July of that year, he married Joanne Romania Converse.
Survivors include his wife, of Billings; daughters, Nanette Pons of Cascadia, Ore., and Lynn Tallman of Santa Rosa, Calif.; two grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
Private family burial was planned in Mountain View Cemetery. A celebration of his life was held April 18 at the Billings Elks Club. Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary has charge of arrangements.
Donations in his memory may be made to First Tee of Montana, Help for Homeless Pets or Oregon State University Athletics.