• Date Of Birth: December 31, 1942
  • Date Of Death: July 22, 2015
  • State: Montana

On the evening of July 22, Jerry passed away peacefully of natural causes, surrounded by family at Benefis Peace Hospice in Great Falls. He was 72 years old.

Jerry was born in Great Falls, Montana on December 31, 1942 and lived in Belt, Montana his entire life. He was the second of four children of Marian and Jesse Hoyer. From 1953 to 1958, Jerry’s parents owned the Belt café, and the family lived in the back room. At only 11 years old, Jerry was already a people person. He made a deal with his older brother Donn that he would wait on customers if Donn would do all the dishes.

Jerry graduated from Belt High School in 1961, where he was a star basketball player, pole vaulter and trumpet player, winning many awards, including the John Philip Sousa award for best musician. As a freshman, he broke his leg while headed up to the “B” hill on freshman initiation day to whitewash the “B”. When his mother Marian came to pick him up, she was startled to see that not only had he broken his leg, he was also tarred and feathered (thanks to the seniors). He excelled in academics when required to do so (i.e., when necessary to play sports), and endlessly tormented his English teacher Mrs. Stober (in whose name he later sponsored a scholarship).

In September 1963, Jerry met the love of his life, Nina Watson, from Forsyth, Montana. Although Nina was on a date with Jerry’s friend when Jerry first laid eyes on her, he vowed then and there that someday he would marry her. On June 27, 1964, they wed in a (very) small ceremony at the Methodist Church in Belt, Montana, attended by Jerry’s sister Carolynn and Jerry’s friend Beau Wells. Jerry was so nervous that he made his mother Marian wait outside the church until the ceremony was over. After the ceremony, Jerry went fishing and Nina baked cookies.

Over the years, Jerry did a lot more fishing and also enjoyed hunting, camping, snowmobiling, bowling, playing cards and woodworking. He traveled the State of Montana to watch his kids and grandkids play sports, always giving a reassuring thumbs-up from the sidelines. Jerry and Nina recently celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary, with Jerry enlisting the help of the Hospice staff to give Nina a cupcake and a bowl full of roses on their special day.

Jerry worked virtually his entire career — 47 years — at the Belt Valley Bank in Belt, Montana, eventually becoming the CEO and chairman of the Board. He worked tirelessly to help local farmers and ranchers through good times and bad, and his office door was always open. Consistent with his firm belief that the Bank had a civic duty to support the local community, he ensured that every local fundraiser was supported by the Bank in some fashion, a tradition which continues on today. Jerry was active in many community activities, including the Montana Bankers Association (where he served as chairman of the executive board), the Cascade County Park Board, the Belt School Board, Belt Swimming Pool Board and the Belt volunteer fire department.

Jerry was preceded in death by his mother Marian, father Jesse, and brother Donn. Jerry is survived by his beloved wife Nina, sister Carolynn Frank, brother Dick, children Bruce (Celeste), Keith (Heather) and Natalie (Clay Keller), grandchildren Matthew, Doug, Danny, Mike, Taylor, Kassie, Tyler, Jake and Ellie, and great-grandchildren Paisley and Wade.

The family sends special thanks to the staff at Benefis Peace Hospice, who helped guide Jerry and his family through his last days.

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