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Jerry David Master, 70, of Kalamazoo died January 24, 2021 after a long and brave battle with cancer. He passed away in his home with his loving wife, Kathy, by his side. Jerry was born on April 15, 1950 in Battle Creek to Jacob and Leona (Banks) Master. On August 6, 1992 he married the love of his life, Kathy Stephenson. They have lived in Kalamazoo for the past 21 years.  Jerry retired from Canadian National Railroad in 2010 and in 2015 Kathy joined him in retirement. They enjoyed taking road trips, especially to the lakeshore. Some of their happiest days were spent in Florida.  One of Jerry’s biggest joys was being with his grandkids. He loved taking them on their boat and watching them grow. He is preceded in death by his parents, Jacob and Leona. He is survived by his wife and stepchildren, Shannon McDonald, Travis Brigle, and Jessica (Charlie) Hainstock and his grandchildren Brendan and Briana McDonald and Amelia, Jerzy, and Larken Hainstock. He is also survived by his brother Jacob (Jane) Master. Plus friends and family. Jerry, a kind man with a great sense of humor, will be deeply missed by those who knew him. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. To send a message of sympathy to the family, sign Jerry’s online guest book, or to share a favorite memory, please visit:

Cremation arrangements were entrusted to Michigan Cremation & Funeral Care, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 616-452-3006.



Let the family know you care by sharing this tribute.


  1. Mike Johnson on February 2, 2021 at 10:28 am

    Loved this guy! What a great man to hang out with and talk to. I will miss him.

  2. Casey and Donna Major on February 2, 2021 at 10:48 am

    Jerry was a great husband and father he will be missed by his entire family.

  3. Kelly Haire on February 2, 2021 at 11:06 am

    Uncle Jerry was Aunt Kathy’s night and shining armor. Neither of them ever knew this, but their marriage, and him loving Aunt Kathy like he did and him accepting Aunt Kathy’s children as his own was what made me know that someday I would have a love like theirs. Their relationship truly had a huge impact on me. Uncle Jerry will be missed by me and by many people but he will always be in our thoughts and our hearts.

  4. Bruce and Jean Haire on February 2, 2021 at 11:13 am

    We will miss Jerry at our family get togethers. Loved by us all!

  5. Jo Johnson on February 2, 2021 at 12:40 pm

    Am amazing husband, stepdad, brother, and uncle. Will miss your humor and talks! ❤️

  6. Sharon L Peterson on February 2, 2021 at 2:35 pm

    Jerry was a wonderful, caring person. He always tried to include me in different things that he and Kathy did. I had so many dinners with Kathy and Jerry … especially pizza. He was a great addition to our family (thank you, Kathy, for that). Jerry was also very understanding when I pulled Kathy away from him to do something with me. He was really good at sharing her time with me. Jerry will truly be missed.

  7. Travis T Brigle on February 2, 2021 at 6:59 pm

    Jerry was the best stepfather anyone could ever ask for. He was a very loving man. I will truly appreciate and cherish my time i spent with him. I will miss him very much. Love you Jerry.

  8. James Burkheimer on February 3, 2021 at 8:12 am

    I knew Jerry through Kathy, who worked with me at DENSO for many years – somewhere around 27 or so! When I first met him, we really hit it off, and I knew we could be friends for a long time – and we were. We both liked to talk about lots of things, but shared a love of cars, travel, and even history. Jerry had a great sense of humor and could always make you laugh, and yet he was humble and never took himself to seriously. He was a loving and caring husband, father, and grandfather . You’ll be greatly missed, Jerry!

  9. Linda and Glenn Alday on February 3, 2021 at 11:36 am

    Jerry was a true friend, Always their when you needed him with a quick wit to make you smile or laugh with him. His love for life was huge and the love for his wife and family was evident to everyone who knew him.Good bye old friend until we meet again, may you fly with golden wings on your journey home.

  10. Jake and Jane Master on February 3, 2021 at 12:25 pm

    It was always fun catching up with Jerry and hearing his latest story. He always had a funny one. He lived an outstanding life and Mom and Dad are so proud of him, as are we. Miss you Brother.

  11. Joe Swelnis on February 3, 2021 at 12:40 pm

    I met first Jerry in 1968 when he started working at the old Kimball Ford dealership. He was a great friend with a great sense of humor. I am fortunate that I got to see him again in 2015 when he and Kathy along with Glen and Linda Alday stopped at my house in Kentucky.

  12. Ted Jenkins on February 3, 2021 at 6:26 pm

    Jerry never failed to get me laughing when we were together. A truly good man and good friend.

  13. Joanne Kingman on February 4, 2021 at 4:21 pm

    My husband, Dan Kingman, worked with Jerry on the railroad. My condolences to Jerry’s family.

  14. JOE RODRIGUEZ on February 4, 2021 at 4:30 pm

    My condolences to you and your family, prayer for your comfort.

    I worked with Jerry off and on the rail road as I work out of Flint and would go out on the production gangs.

    Enjoy our time together on job. Rip brother

  15. Steve Bauer on February 4, 2021 at 9:19 pm

    Worked with Jerry alot on the Railroad great guy was really good to me when I first started RIP

  16. Jeff Ware on February 11, 2021 at 11:21 am

    Hello Kathy,
    I’m very sorry to hear of your loss. I had been trying to locate Jerry since December last year. We were childhood friends until about 1967 when we drifted apart. Our parents stayed in contact thru Jake and Leonas passings. I have some pictures, ect…I would like to share with you and your children or Jake Jr. Please contact me at I’m looking forward to hearing from you.
    Jeff Ware

  17. Deborah Cooper on February 23, 2021 at 4:25 pm

    Kathy, I am so sorry for you and your family’s loss. Jerry and I met at Joe Swelnis’s house in 1968 and were together for 13 years. My family also adored Jerry and my brothers send their condolences to you. My sister still considered Jerry family when she asked him to be a pallbearer at her funeral. Jerry and I basically grew up together from our latter teenage years through early adulthood. We went a lot of places, did a lot of things, and had a lot of fun. Jerry was a very good man. Kathy I’m so glad you two found each other for Jerry deserved the love and happiness it sounds like you two had. I hope he didn’t have to suffer much in his battle with cancer. Rest in peace Jerry.

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