Gerald L. Wise
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Gerald L. Wise, 79, of Blandford and Northampton, MA, passed away surrounded by his family at Cooley Dickinson Hospital on Sunday, October 31, 2021, of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
Jerry was born in Pittsburgh, PA, on December 15, 1941, to Dale and Grace Watkins Wise. He was raised in Warren, Ohio, and worked along with his siblings and parents in the family business, Wise Florists. He was a fiercely competitive and talented athlete and a star basketball player at Howland High School. It was at Howland High that he met his high school sweetheart and future wife, Patricia Love.
Jerry graduated from Wheaton College in Illinois, and then earned a MA and MFA from Northern Illinois University. He had a lengthy career as a professor of art at the University of Minnesota, Mankato, and at Westfield State University, Westfield, MA, where he retired as Professor Emeritus in 2016. He was also a Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA.
Jerry was a prolific and acclaimed artist. His finely detailed pen and ink drawings are in collections across the country including the John D. Merriam Collection at the Boston Public Library.
In 1975, the family moved from Minnesota to a 1810 farmhouse in Blandford, MA, on 70+ acres of land, where he grew food and flowers, cleared and cared for the land, planted trees, made art, and with Patricia, raised his two daughters.
He loved being "Boppa" and "Papa" to his six grandchildren, and was heard to say, "Why didn't anyone ever tell me being a grandpa was this much fun?". He rocked colicky babies and played with toddlers for hours. He never missed a musical performance or sporting event.
Jerry is survived by his wife of 58 years, Patricia, his daughter Karla Wise Hathaway of Northampton and his son-in-law Danny Hathaway of Williamsburg, and his daughter Brooke Sledzieski and husband Patrick of Northampton. He leaves his grandchildren Will and Tatum Hathaway and Hannah, Emily, Katie, and Ben Sledzieski.
He is also survived by his sister JoAnn Rowlands and her husband Jack of Warren, OH, his brother Dennis Wise and his wife Kay of Winchester, VA, his brother David Wise of Denver, CO, and his sister-in-law Carol Love Waddell of Lakeland, FL. His memory will be cherished by several nieces and nephews and lifelong friends.
Calling hours will be on Sunday, November 7th, from 1-3 pm, at CZELUSNIAK FUNERAL HOME, 173 North Street in Northampton, MA. By order of the Northampton Board of Health, all guests are asked to wear face coverings. To send condolences, please visit Czelusniakfuneralhome.com.
There will be a private celebration of life at a later date.
Memorial donations in Jerry's memory can be made to the Fine Arts Work Center, 24 Pearl St, Provincetown, MA 02657 or to Cooley Dickinson VNA & Hospice, 168 Industrial Dr, Northampton, MA 01060.