Jerry Walter Karl Bitz was born August 5, 1952 in Cabri, Sask to hotel owners Nick and Eva Bitz. His boyhood was filled with hours at the playground and swimming pool, following his big sister around the hotel while she and his mother worked, and chasing his brother with a stick, nail intact. That’s his story anyways.

The family eventually moved to Swift Current, to the first house Jerry ever knew, on 6th Ave NE. This house has been a hub of love, welcoming family and friends, neighbours and strangers through its doors, and is still home to sister Millie.

Jerry worked hard from a young age, helping in the hotel in Cabri, working on his uncle’s farm near Lancer, painting rooms in the Bitz Block, installing the roof of the SCCHS, bar tending and kitchen duty at the ol’ Skyline Hotel, different jobs from Swift Current to BC and Yellowknife, doing what needed to be done to put clothes on his back and food in his belly. Eventually he took a job with Mobile Paving Ltd in Swift Current, becoming foreman of the paving operation. He was a tough boss, but only asked what he was also willing to do, and often worked beside his crew, shovel or rake in hand. Work hard, play hard, that seemed like a good motto.

With a young family at home, Jerry left the long distance life of paving and started his own business, JB’s Dirtwork. He was an awesome bobcat operator, asking perfection in himself in any work he took on. He often had son Nick and daughter Kate helping out with sod or brick laying, grass cutting and landscape work, while Donna took care of the books and ordered supplies. The family at work.

Jerry was able to enjoy some much needed down time after hours and weekends - something he hadn’t been able to do during the long seasonal paving months. Fishing in fair weather and foul, in local waters, cool southern rivers and temperate oceans - he loved the catch. Always welcoming good buddies and family members along for the boat ride. His passions also included a good hunt of big game, both rifle and archery - he appreciated the beauty of the changing seasons, watching the animals in their element. He taught both Nick and Kate how to shoot a bow and they would walk paths together, scoping distances and lining up targets for the bullseye.

When he wasn’t drilling a hole for ice fishing on Duncairn Dam or Turtle Lake, he could often be found with Donna in Medicine Hat in winter months cheering grandsons on in their hockey games, groaning as Shannon eagerly rang the cow bell. Jerry loved visiting with family and friends, often travelling for a weekend, joining neighbours on the deck, or planning camping trips to the Sask. Landing. A long blue sky day at the river, in the boat with a picnic lunch and Donna was exactly the right thing to do. A Bacardi 8 year old finished the day off just fine.

Jerry’s 11 month battle with pancreatic cancer was a tough one, draining him of his reliable strength and ambition, but he fought the good fight, did not complain of his destiny, and passed peacefully at home. Home was always good. Jerry adored his granddaughter Sophia, and could hardly wait for her sister to arrive this spring. He just wanted to make it until he could see her. As a good friend said, “She will be kissed by an angel before she makes her appearance.” Well Grampa said good bye and little Miss Hazel entered the world, warming our tears with a splash of joy.

Jerry’s closet was full of camo, his knees covered with dirt, his hands calloused and rough, his heart big and full, and that is enough.

We miss you every day.

Loving wife Donna, son Nick (Emily), children Sophia and Hazel, daughter Kate (Justin Furseth), daughter Shannon (Mark Fink), children Skylar and Preston.

Jerry is predeceased by parents Nickolas and Eva Bitz, brother Laverne (Dusty) Bitz, brother-in-law Gord Allsen.

Jerry is survived by sister Millie Allsen, family members Michele White (Cal), Melissa Shaw (Kenny), Mackenzie and Regan, Rhett White (Michelle) , Larry Allsen, Cheryl Allsen, sister-in-law Barb Bitz, family members Jason Bitz, Shaelyn and Hayley, Angela Bitz Klein (Greg Fendelet), Christopher and Caitlin.

We would all like to thank the generous support from family, friends and community, we have been blessed.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

Arrangements entrusted to Warren’s Funeral Home. For further information please call 1-306-773-8831 or 1-800-267-6606, or visit the website and express your sympathy to family members on the tribute wall.