Gerald R. Sebranek

Gerald “Jerry” Richard Sebranek, 82, of La Crosse, passed away on Tuesday, September 22, 2020, at the Gundersen Health System in La Crosse.
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Gerald “Jerry” Richard Sebranek, 82, of La Crosse, passed away on Tuesday, September 22, 2020, at the Gundersen Health System in La Crosse.

He was born in La Crosse on December 17, 1937, to Theodore and Eleanor (Woods) Sebranek. He attended La Crosse schools before enlisting in the U.S. Navy in January of 1955. He served two years aboard the aircraft carrier, U.S.S. Lake Champlain and two years aboard LST-32 Alameda County based in the Port of Naples, Italy, serving as ship serviceman barber for his four years of duty. While in the Navy, he became a world traveler, visiting 21 countries. He also represented his ship in Navy competitions in springboard and platform diving and also boxing.

Following his discharge, Jerry attended business and barber college in Green Bay, Wis., receiving his Master Barber license and Shop Manager’s license. While living in Green Bay, he married his high school sweetheart, Sharon Thornton, in February of 1960. They had two children, Anthony “Tony” and Troy. In 1966, they moved to Tomah and three more children were added to the family, Tracy, Sherry and Amy.

Jerry bought his first barbershop in Tomah and a second in Wilton. While living in Tomah, he was very active in community and personal development. As a member of the Tomah Jaycees, he rose to the office of President and was awarded many honors and awards, including outstanding President of the Wisconsin State Jaycees. He also bought a hobby farm outside of Tomah where they raised horses and chickens.

Jerry and Sharon moved their family to La Crosse, where Jerry started his 3rd barbershop, J’s. His shop was unique in that not only did he cut and style hair, he also had his own putting green in the waiting room complete with golf balls, putters and an electric ball return. He also had an interest in photography and had a photo studio, complete with a darkroom, in the back of his barbershop. Another hobby Jerry enjoyed was raising salt-water fish. Jerry later sold his shop and started working at the G. Heileman Brewery, where he worked for 21 years.

For years, Jerry took night classes at W.T.C., his favorite being woodworking. He loved sports, spending much of his youth at the YMCA in La Crosse. While in Green Bay, he played bugle with the Green Bay D.A.V. Senior Drum and Bugle Corps. He played city league basketball and played softball on too many teams to mention. He was an avid bowler, winning several league championships, and spent many weekends hunting and fishing, including trips to Lake Michigan and Canada. He also earned many licenses and certifications. He was a certified water safety instructor, teaching lifeguards, a city softball umpire, a licensed W.I.A.A. umpire for boy’s baseball and girls’ softball, a licensed health and life insurance agent in Florida, bartender, and many more.

Jerry rose through the ranks of several organizations such as the Knights of Columbus, President of the Jaycees, Governor of the Moose, and more. He was a member of the La Crosse County Board of Supervisors for ten years, serving on over a dozen committees during that time and representing La Crosse County on the International Trade and Economic Council for ten years. To borrow a line from the Jaycee Creed, he believed “that the best work in life, is service to humanity”. He enjoyed being active in the American Legion, 40 et 8, and riding the locomotive in many parades and events. He was second vice-commander in the Onalaska American Legion, serving on several committees and as a bugler at funerals. When asked how many funerals he played for, he would say, “too many”.

Jerry liked to observe people saying that they come in all shapes and sizes and no two are alike. He was a man of many personal quotes. He laughed in the face of adversity and approached most things with a sense of humor and could tell a joke on any subject. He said life was like a funny riddle so exit laughing.

Jerry is survived by his children, Anthony “Tony” (Laurie) Sebranek, Tracy (Ken Weymouth) Sebranek, Sherry (Jamie) Wally, Amy Sebranek; grandchildren, Jacquelyn (Joe) Festa, Andrew Sebranek, Michael Willett, and Annalee Sebranek; one great granddaughter, Alayna Festa; his former wife, Sharon Sebranek; one sister, Patricia (Jim) Gifford; one brother, Tom (Darlene) Sebranek; and nieces and nephews. Jerry was preceded in death by his parents; a son, Troy Michael Sebranek; and two brothers, Lawrence and Theodore Sebranek.

Due to the ongoing issues with Covid-19, a celebration of Jerry’s life will be delayed until the spring of 2021, when our family and friends can gather together safely. Details will be announced at that time. Schumacher-Kish Funeral and Cremation Services of La Crosse is assisting the family. An online guest book is available at www.schumacher-kish.com.