Gerald Ellis “Jere” Justice, 80, passed away unexpectedly at his home on May 6, 2020.
Graveside funeral services will be 1 p.m. Saturday, May 23, 2020, at Louisburg Cemetery, Louisburg, Kansas. The family will receive friends from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, May 22, 2020, at the Lamb-Roberts Funeral Home. Memorial contributions to N.P.R. sent c/o the Lamb-Roberts Funeral Home, P.O. Box 14, Ottawa, KS 66067. Condolences to the family may be sent through www.lamb-roberts.com.
Jere was born on Oct. 23, 1939, in Hazel Park, Michigan, to Lee and Gladys (Martin) Justice. When Jere was 9, the family relocated to Vincennes, Indiana, where he later graduated from Lincoln High School.
Jere served in the United States Air Force for four years, earning the rank of Senior Airman and working as an aircraft navigation systems tech both domestically and at sea during the Cold War.
After being honorably discharged from the Air Force, he attended Vincennes University and Indiana University and then met and married his first wife, Linda Stewart, before moving to Colorado and completing his degree in geography and political science at Denver University.
He started his career in urban planning in Nashville before being recruited into the private sector, where he became a senior analyst for consumer research for Genesco, Inc. During this time, he completed advanced training in computer mapping of quantitative and qualitative information with the graduate school of design at Harvard University and was a member of a marketing research group with the graduate school of business at Columbia University.
Jere then began a long and successful business career, moving to New York City to work for Avon, where he worked his way into a division manager role. While in New York, he also met and married his second wife, Kathe Gelencher.
He then served as the national sales manager for Miles Homes in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and a regional sales director for Shaklee Corp., in Chicago before moving to San Francisco for his wife’s career. While there, he owned his own consulting group, working with companies around the globe to develop new market opportunities.
He then moved to the Kansas City area, where he was a co-founder, with his wife, of KL Designs, a manufacturer of women’s clothing. The couple ran the business until Kathe began her battle with primary pulmonary hypertension. After Kathe’s death, Jere began working for his brother-in-law, Ronn Heise, at Lamb-Roberts-Heise Funeral Home. He continued to work in administrative roles for Lamb-Roberts until his death.
Jere was an avid sports fan, especially when it came to baseball. He coached his daughter, Lynsey, through much of her softball career and enjoyed building a substantial baseball card collection. He loved sharing meals with friends and family and trying new foods. He traveled the world with Kathe and carried a lifelong love of history and geography. Most recently, he loved sneaking candy to his four-year-old granddaughter and holding his nine-month-old grandson.
Jere is survived by daughter, Laura Justice and partner, Steve Farrington, of Chicago; daughter, Lynsey Atkinson and husband, Ryan, of Shawnee, Kansas; step-daughter, Kristen Stankiewicz and partner, Mitch Metcalf, of Sherman Oaks, California; two grandchildren, Rae Atkinson and Justice Atkinson.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Kathe (Wise) Justice, his parents, two sisters and a brother.