Jerald (Jerry) Donald Tomford was born May 13, 1941, to William and Charlotte (Volk) Tomford
in Ocheyedan, IA. From the age of 9 he and his family lived in Osakis, MN, where he graduated
from Osakis Public School in 1959. He excelled on the football team and was offered
scholarships to two colleges, both of which he declined in favor of joining the military.
Jerry was inducted into the Navy on June 2, 1959. After basic training, he spent 9 months in
Pearl Harbor Naval Base where he drove for the commanding officer who asked him to join him
on a “Round the World Cruise” as his driver at every port. He declined this offer, too, as he had
plans of getting married while on furlough.
He married his high school sweetheart, Lois Marlene Lofquist, on July 16, 1960, and together
they raised 6 children.
After a short honeymoon on the North Shore of Lake Superior, the couple moved to Alameda,
CA, where he was stationed on the USS Ranger CVA 61 for 23 months, followed by stations at
Imperial Beach, CA (helicopter utility squadron #1) and Andrews Air Force Base in Washington,
DC. After 7 years, 2 months and 9 days in the Navy, he earned the rank of AMS2.
On discharge from the Navy, he worked as a welder and truck driver in the Twin Cities. In the
fall of 1968, he moved his family back to Osakis where he farmed and started Jerry’s Welding &
Fabricating, which he operated for 30 years. He also taught adult welding at the Alexandria
Technical College for 3 years.
He served as a township supervisor for 9 years and was a member of the Osakis VFW since
1970, in which he held several offices and served as Post Commander (1979 – 1980). He later
served as a county commissioner (1996 – 2000), after which he retired and moved to Park
Jerry was a loving husband and father and a friend to many. Most importantly, he loved the
Lord. He was a hard worker and a strong, honest leader who instilled those qualities in his
He loved to dance, hunt, fish, snowmobile, play cards and travel. He also enjoyed wood carving
and simply being in his shop building and fixing things. Best of all, he enjoyed breath‐stealing,
eye‐watering belly laughs with friends and family.
Jerry lost Lois to leukemia on August 22, 1987. He married Judith Carol Oakland Hepokoski
June 3, 1989; she died December 14, 2018.
He lost his own battle with cancer on November 9, 2023. He was preceded in death by his
parents, wife, Lois, son, David, son‐in‐law, Bob Geyen, brothers Robert and Richard, grandson
Shawn Saarela, and his second wife, Judy. He is survived by children Debbie (Roger) Hvezda,
Fawn Geyen, Vernon (Kay) Tomford, Lonnie (Shelley) Tomford and Dennis (Jill) Tomford; by
stepchildren Kelly (Johnny) Saarela, Troy Hepokoski, Dale (Carey) Hepokoski and Donny (Missy)
Hepokoski; by several grandchildren and great‐grandchildren, and siblings, Rhonda Hilla and
Alvin (Dorothy) Tomford. He also leaves behind his very dear friend, Deloris (Dee) Charmoli,
with whom he spent most of his last five years dancing, camping, cooking, visiting friends and
family and just having fun.
We thank the staff at Greenwood Connections in Menahga for their outstanding care of dad.
We are blessed that he found a home there.
At his request, dad’s remains have been cremated and will be interred at the Veterans Cemetery in Little Falls. A private celebration of his life will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers or gifts, the family requests donations be made in dad’s honor to The Disabled American Veterans (DAV).
A Memorial Tree was planted for Jerald (Jerry)
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Cremation Society Of Minnesota | Brooklyn Park