Jerrold (Jerry) E. Lerum

Jerrold (Jerry) E. Lerum, age 77, passed away on Saturday September 29, 2018 in Gig Harbor, Washington.

The youngest of three, Jerry was born on May 21, 1941 at home in rural Viroqua, Wisconsin to Edwin and Inga (Fortun) Lerum. His early life was centered in the labor of his family’s tobacco and dairy farm in the midst of a Norwegian-Lutheran farming community. He attended a one-room school house until 8th grade and become the first in his family to achieve a university degree (Luther College). He received his M.S. in zoology (University of Wisconsin-Madison), and his Ph.D in reproductive biology (Northwestern University). In 1973 Jerry joined the biology faculty of Pacific Lutheran University. There he helped to establish the Health Sciences Committee where he immersed himself in mentoring pre-med and pre-dental school students. He served on a number of committees and was a chair of the biology department during the final stages of the construction of the Rieke Science Center and facilitated the move into its new space. A former college athlete (track, football), Jerry also served as PLU’s faculty-athletic representative for over 33 years. 

Beyond his dedication to the health sciences, his students, and PLU, Jerry had a photographic memory and staggering knowledge of topics spanning art, architecture, history, politics, science, and world travel. He spent his sabbaticals working with world renowned reproductive biology researchers (in Cambridge England and Melbourne Australia), while also bringing his family along to experience these and dozens of other global destinations including China, Egypt, India, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, and many European countries.

Jerry is survived by his devoted wife of 56 years, Lois Lerum; daughter Kari Lerum (spouse Shari Dworkin); son Karl Lerum; and grandchildren Ry Dozier-Lerum and Lukas Lerum. He is preceded in death by his parents Edwin and Inga Lerum; siblings Arlene and Nordahl Lerum; and daughter-in-law Yvonne Røskeland Lerum.

A celebration of Jerrold’s life will be held at 2 pm on Saturday October 5, 2018 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Tacoma, Washington.

For those who wish to make a memorial gift Jerrold’s name, donations may be made to Pacific Lutheran University, Department of Biology, and Trinity Lutheran Church.


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