Gerald Filson Obituary

Gerald H.  Filson
Gerald H. Filson

April 17, 1939 - January 26, 2017
Born in Ely, Minnesota
Resided in Cottage Grove, MN


Gerald (Jerry) Henry Filson, of Cottage Grove, MN, formerly of Ely, MN, passed away at the age of 77, after a long battle with Alzheimer's on January 26, 2017.

Jerry was a kind and gentle man with unwavering integrity and an exceedingly brilliant mind. After receiving his civil engineering degree from the University of MN, he left the state to begin his professional career on the Seattle freeway with the State of Washington. He proposed to Esther Jackola of Buhl, MN, to come to Seattle. They married and had two daughters, Jennifer and Julie. After five years in Seattle, they came back to MN and settled in their home for the next 50 years in Cottage Grove where Jerry served the MN Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR) as the Chief Design Engineer for 30 years. Just a few of his DNR projects include the DNR fish pond at the MN State Fair and the High Bridge at Tettegouchee State Park.

During his DNR career and as a wonderful husband and father, he found time to be a landscape painter, an old time dancer, as well as a gardener. He became a Master Gardener with Esther, created garden videography, and created a public access channel garden show with Esther entitled "Garden Talk." Both Jerry and Esther received the highest award possible from the MN State Horticulture Society in 1989, The Bronze Medal, for all of their contributions in horticulture. They also both hosted bus-loads of garden enthusiasts to tour their home gardens. Jerry's roses were well-known. At one point in time he had over 200 varieties of hybrid teas alone! Jerry was also a MN Rose Society consultant. Additionally, his engineering and architectural expertise was showcased in his garden gazebo, fountain, and other landscape structures. Not only did Jerry paint and garden for "fun" he also was known to many as "Jerry Jackpine" as he was a singer and guitarist of classic country music. In his spare time, he sat and watched the birds and squirrels feeding at the many bird feeders he hung that included squirrel protectors!

Jerry also contributed to the Cottage Grove community. He was a volunteer softball coach for his girls' teams for many years, he ushered for Zion Lutheran Church, he participated on the Parks and Recreation Board of Cottage Grove where both he and Esther received the 2000 Citizen of the Year awards, and he was also a volunteer at the City's Public Works Department.

Jerry is survived by his loving wife of 54 years, Esther (nee Jackola); his daughters, Jennifer (Dan) Klitzke and Julie (Scott) Smith; and brothers, Dale (Donna) and Marlin. He is preceded in death by his parents Henry and Lillian; and sister, Karen Cave.

Jerry's last 28 months were in the exceptional care of White Pine Memory Care in Cottage Grove. The family expresses extreme gratitude for their loving attention to Jerry in his last years, days, and moments in this world.

Visitation is 10-11 AM with Memorial Service at 11 AM on Saturday, February 11, 2017, at Kok Funeral Home, 7676 80th St. S., Cottage Grove, MN 55016, 651-459-2483.

Memorials preferred.





Kok Funeral Home - Cottage Grove
7676 80th Street South
Cottage Grove, MN US 55016
Saturday, February 11, 2017
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Kok Funeral Home - Cottage Grove
7676 80th Street South
Cottage Grove, MN US 55016
Saturday, February 11, 2017
11:00 AM - 11:45 AM