Jerry Daniel Bontrager


Jerry Daniel Bontrager, 63, died Tuesday, September 3 at his home after a short illness. He was born in Garden City, Kansas on December 7, 1955. He graduated from Holcomb High School and for a brief time farmed with his family. In 1974 he met and married the late Kathleen Jean Smith and began working for Garden City Co-op until November 1987. Jerry then decided it was time for a change of scenery so in 1987 he moved to Lawrence, KS. Shortly thereafter he met Shelley Langston and they were married in 1992. In 1999 he married Joni Loper, a longtime friend who he had known while living in Garden City, in the drive thru of the Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, NV.

Jerry began work at Cardinal Construction where he made many friends. In 2008 when the building boom went bust Jerry went to work as maintenance/painter. Then in 2014 according to Jerry, he was offered a job at Vermont Towers where he loved the opportunity to support the needs of the residents and their dogs were almost like his other family.

Jerry is survived by his wife and his stepson, Adam Loper, both of the home: his mother, Emma Troyer Bontrager of Hutchinson, Ks: Nicole Strickland (Bill) of Parsons, Ks: Brook Carranza (James) of Satanta, KS: Stepdaughter, Shelby Garlock (Warren) of Baldwin, Ks. Jerry was preceded in death by his father, Roy Bontrager: his older brother, Curtis: grandson, Ky Daniel Bontrager Harris: and stepson, Timothy Loper. Jerry leaves behind six grandchildren.


There will be a celebration of Jerry’s life at Southside Church of Christ on Saturday October 5 at 12:00 noon.

Memorial Contributions

In lieu of flowers the family is requesting donations made out to Southside Church of Christ in support of “The Zambia Drought Relief.”


  1. Uncle Tommy and Aunt Deeda on October 1, 2019 at 11:57 am

    What a sweet and gentle spirit. Was loved by everyone who knew him.

  2. Eilene Moak on September 21, 2019 at 9:55 pm

    Joni… My heart aches for you as you adjust to living without Jerry. He was such a sweet, gentle guy and we will all miss him. Love to you and your family and praying for comfort and peace.

  3. Susan Sullivan on September 20, 2019 at 8:02 am

    My cousin Buzz was an amazing guy!
    He will be missed by many.
    My best to the family he leaves behind.

  4. Mary Beth Petr on September 19, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    What a wonderful choice of words and tribute. Zambian drought relief is a worthy place to remember such a kind serving man. We are honored to have worshipped and shared life with him and you! Hugs
    Dave and MaryBeth.

  5. Steve Rogers on September 19, 2019 at 5:18 pm

    I went to school with Jerry back in the Holcomb days, hadn’t seen him in years but I’ll never forget him.

  6. Marilyn Bourgeois on September 19, 2019 at 4:18 pm

    What a sweet, lovely man
    He is missed

    • Kim and Kenneth Cunningham on September 19, 2019 at 5:15 pm

      Jerry was a friend to everyone. He will definitely be missed. Prayers for the family!

  7. Ron King on September 19, 2019 at 3:15 pm

    Joni, thanks for letting me know. Such a nice and gentle man. I am so sorry for your loss. Please do reach out to me if I can help with anything in dealing with the transition from caregiver to widow. It’s a strange kind of emptiness/relief. Best always.
    Ron King

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