Gerald “Gerry” V Guentz was born at home on Southside Blvd., in Nampa, Idaho on May 16, 1927 to V and Myrtle (Waybright) Guentz and passed away on June 27, 2020, less than a half-mile from where he was born with his family by his side. He grew up in Nampa, and as a young boy mowed lawns and had a job each morning before school at the Bradley Potato Chip factory. His favorite work was helping his grandparents on their farm. In 1942 Gerry’s family, including his beloved younger sister, Norma Lee, moved to his grandpa’s adjoining farm where he became his uncle’s hired man.
At Nampa High, Gerry displayed his play-hard philosophy. He loved hunting and fishing and carried a shot gun in his truck so he could get in a little duck hunting before the school day began. As captain of the baseball team he helped the Bulldogs beat the Twin Falls Bruins, becoming the first player in the state to hit the ball over the outfield fence under stadium lights.
That fall, Sept. 1945, Gerry was drafted in the US Army Air Corp where he served in the Occupation Forces in Korea. This experience created a collection of great stories! Returning home to his parent’s farm, Gerry believed that becoming an “American farmer” was the best career he could have and began buying farms south of Nampa.
Lorene Marshall entered the picture in the summer of ’47 and Gerry won her over with a first date of boating, bowling, a trip to the carnival and dinner at Boise’s seafood restaurant “Dixons.” They married on June 26, 1949 and Gerry and Lorene began a love relationship that lasted 71 years and 1 day.
They had three daughters and the family worked and played together. Gerry and Lorene gave their family an idyllic life on the farm full of love and lessons. He taught the girls how to change siphon tubes, top corn, pick rock and do tractor work. When the family wasn’t working, there were vacations and fishing at Johnson Creek. As grandchildren came along, Gerry was there supporting all their activities. Each grandkid got their first cowboy boots from Grandpa and, later, cars and snow tires – or whatever they needed.
Along with family, Gerry’s friends were a huge part of his life. Gerry and Lorene had great times going dancing, hosting card parties, traveling and laughing with wonderful life-long friends. Gerry’s most enjoyable activity in recent years was morning coffee with the guys at Sarah’s Bagel Shop.
December, 1966 set Gerry’s life on a different course when he was struck by a drunk driver while loading a Christmas tree into his pickup. Walking on two artificial legs for 53 years was challenging, but never did a friend or family member hear Gerry complain. With determination he continued to farm for several years before starting careers selling insurance, becoming a Realtor with Albright Realty and ultimately his own Broker with Gerry Guentz Realty. His work in real estate enabled many people to begin new ventures and Gerry could always figure out a way to “make a deal happen!” His last major entrepreneurial business was owning “Red Dot Carwash” and commercial property on Caldwell Boulevard, where he continued to go daily until 5 days before his death.
Gerry’s leadership and service to the community of Nampa was also important to him: a member of Southside Blvd United Methodist Church, Countryman’s Club, Canyon Enterprise (aka “Jolly Boys”), Mercy Medical Hospital Board, Nampa Sunrise Rotary, Elks Lodge and Association of Realtors.
Although there have been many achievements, two that Gerry pursued with passion leave a legacy to Treasure Valley and the Nampa community. In 1975 he was elected to the Boise Kuna Irrigation Board and served on the Boise Project Board of Control. During his Chairmanship in 1984 he helped complete the Lucky Peak Hydro-Electric Project, which generates millions of dollars to the water users in our valley. During this same era, Gerry and Lorene purchased the HasBrouck House on 12th Avenue and they enthusiastically restored the historic home to its original grandeur, creating a treasure for the city of Nampa.
Gerry’s life was defined by love: unconditional love of his family, love of work, friends, play, community and he was generous to a fault. His actions spoke volumes about integrity, strength, courage and kindness, no matter what obstacles came his way. He once said, “It is just as important to know how to live as it is to make a living.” For 93 years he did just that with help from countless friends, family and, in particular, his devoted wife, Lorene.
Gerald is survived by his wife, Lorene; daughters Kristin Sample and Janet (Gary) Benoit; sister, Norma Lee Mitchell; grandchildren: Travis Fleming, Trent Fleming, Suzanne Steenkolk (Mark), Rosanne (Derrick) Cabiles, Russell (Holly) Sample, Andy Benoit, and great-grandchildren, Caleb Frasier, Kinley and Kellen Steenkolk; wonderful nieces and nephews and many great friends, especially Leo, Lourdes and Natalie, who helped at the office in recent years. He was preceded in death by his parents, daughter Karen Fleming and granddaughter Katy Benoit.
The family would like to thank Gerry’s caregivers who enabled him to live his life at home: Brenda, Phyllis, Elizabeth, Sonja, Dani, Home Care Associates and Signature Home Health.
Memorials can be made to Southside Blvd. United Methodist Church, 5420 Southside Blvd, Nampa, 83686 or Idaho Community Foundation (Idahocf.org) memo line: Katy Benoit Memorial Fund.
A public viewing will be held on Thursday, July 9 from 4:00 – 7:00 pm at the Nampa Funeral Home, Yraguen Chapel (regretfully due to COVID, the family will not be present). An online guest book is also available at www.nampafuneralhome.com
Friday, July 10, promptly 10:00 a.m. the public is invited to Kristin Guentz Sample Century Farm, 8370 Southside Blvd to view a live broadcast of his service on a 17-foot screen. Parking will be available and guests will be asked to remain in their cars. Please visit GerryGuentz.com for further details.
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