Obituary of Gerald Joseph Thenell
Gerald Joseph Thenell passed away at Sacred Heart Medical Center on December 9, one day before his 85th birthday, from multiple causes including kidney disease, heart disease, COPD and Covid-19. Born December 10, 1936 to Edward and Rose Thenell in Eugene, Oregon, he was the 2nd oldest of 10 children. Jerry and his first wife (Janice Thenell) had three children. He had two stepchildren through his marriage to Mary Ann Thenell, his wife of 34 years.
He lived his entire life in Eugene. He went to St. Mary’s Grade School and St. Francis High School (which is now Marist High School). He graduated from St. Martin’s College in Olympia, Washington with a degree in accounting. His folks were farmers and the family raised pole beans in the Santa Clara area for over 22 years. He and his brothers and sisters all worked in the bean fields. After college, he served over five years with the Marine Corps Reserves. During this time, he was offered a job at local print shop, Shelton Turnbull Printers, where he worked for 42 years as a salesperson and eventual owner. In 1976, he purchased the company with two business partners and after the retirement of both partners, was sole owner of the company. Upon his retirement in 2002, he transferred ownership of the company to his employees in a complex Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) buyout. He was also the owner of Instaprint before selling the business in 2012.
Jerry was a member of Eugene Executive Association since 1960. He was a Past President and in his later years, held Honorary member status. He was a member of Delta Rotary since 1996 and was known for his enthusiastic Sergeant at Arms position.
Some of Jerry’s best times were spent fishing with his son, nephew and friends in the ocean out of the Embarcadero Marina in Newport (he loved canning his tuna every year) or playing golf at the Eugene Country Club. And he was an especially avid Duck football fan and supporter. He survived a private-plane crash in 2012 after he and Mary Ann and friends were coming back from the LSU-Ducks game held in Dallas, TX. He spent many months in both trauma and rehab units in Colorado before coming back to Eugene and using the vision of returning to the games and tailgate parties to motivate himself during his long recovery.
Jerry is survived by his wife Mary Ann; daughters Cathy Wardzala (Ed) of Portland and Karen Thenell of Harrisburg; son Scott Thenell (Leslie) of West Linn; stepdaughter Kim Wisniewski (Dave) of Portland and stepson Kevin McMullen (Susan) of Portland. He is also survived by grandchildren Casia Wardzala, Griffin Thenell, Andrew Thenell, Kyla Wisniewski, James Wisniewski, Kevin Wisniewski, Conlan McMullen, Molly McMullen, Ren Hope and Lindsay Hope; sisters Norma (Clyde) Beat, Debbie (Larry) Goodroe, and Cheri (Curt) Bierman; brothers Albert (Ann) Thenell and Art (Janice) Thenell; and many nieces and nephews. Jerry is preceded in death by his parents Edward and Rose Thenell; older brother Ed Thenell; brother Jim Thenell; and sisters Diane Steiner and Mary Bostick.
A full funeral mass will be held at St. Mary Catholic Church, 1062 Charnelton Street, Eugene, at 12:15 p.m. December 21, followed by a private family ceremony at Mt. Cavalry Cemetery. The family requests that masks be worn as well as current Covid-19 vaccinations or testing. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in his name to the Delta Rotary Scholarship Foundation, P.O. Box 892, Eugene, OR 97440.