Gerald Nieusma ’62
Capt. Gerald Edwin (Jerry) Nieusma passed away quietly, in the company of his family, at his home in Morgantown, WV, on Sunday, August 7, 2022.
He is preceded in death by his parents, an older sister, Bobbie, and a younger brother, Bill.
He is survived by his spouse of 60 years, Judy Nieusma; four children (Jim, Jeff, Joe, Jennifer); many grandchildren, nieces and nephews; and one brother, Butch.
Jerry was born in Holland, MI, on March 9, 1940. His family moved around a bit while he was younger, but Jerry grew up on a functioning farm and sawmill in Grand Haven, MI, where he met Judy in 1953. Jerry was a professional water skier and boat show stunt man during his high school years. He and Judy were married in 1962 between Jerry’s attendance at Hope College and Dental School at University of Michigan. They put themselves through college and dental school. Shortly after graduating in 1966, with two children (Jim and Jeff) in tow, they embarked on an almost 30-year US Navy career.
Duty stations included Camp Pendleton, USMC, Southern CA; the Vietnam War evacuation Hospital in Yokosuka, Japan (adding two more children: Joe and Jennifer); Camp Lejeune, NC; Portsmouth, VA; Puerto Rico; the Mediterranean Sea on the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal; Oral Surgery training in the Dental program in Portsmouth, VA; CO of Dental and Oral Surgery Dept at the Hospital in Great Lakes, IL; Overseeing all the aspects of the Dental training program in Bethesda, MD; CO of Dental services and advisor to the Surgeon General at the Naval Regional Medical Center, Bethesda, MD; USS Comfort Hospital ship in theater during the Persian Gulf War.
After retiring O6 from the Navy in 1991, Jerry was a Professor of Oral Surgery at the dental school program at West Virginia University from 1991 until 2010. During his long careers of instructing people various skills, Jerry found time to participate on the US Navy skeet team (1968 amateur skeet shooter of the year per Guns & Ammo magazine), teach his children to hike, camp, and hunt, coach little league baseball, help several scout groups as volunteer and assistant scout master, teach Sunday school classes, lead stewardship and capital campaigns to build a church, taught himself to play five instruments and loved to play for family and church get togethers, hike for two weeks at Philmont Scout Camp at 68 years old, scuba dive all around the Caribbean Sea, ride motorcycles around the country, and teach range and gun safety to countless people over the course of a long and fruitful life.
Extremely generous and trusting, Jerry spent his life teaching, mentoring and setting an example of how to live a moral, spiritual and faith-filled life. He has now joined his Heavenly Father for well-deserved rest and to embark on his new journey.