Jere W. Fonda

Jere W. Fonda

June 3, 1929 – December 28, 2023

VISITATION: Thursday, January 11, 2024, 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the West Center Chapel.  Family Burial Service at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Children’s Hospital Foundation.


Jere was born and spent his youth in Medford, MA. He was the son of Arthur Williams Fonda and Mildred Swett Fonda and brother to Juel Fonda Boyle and Jane (deceased 1929). Jere graduated from Melrose High School in 1947 and Tufts University with a BA in 1951.  He spent his summers in Harwich Port, MA with his family and friends. Jere’s many jobs as a young man included lifeguarding, delivering luggage for American Express, and driving for a short-haul trucking company to help further his education. Jere was a proud Marine, being inducted in 1951. The Marines would forever change and shape his life, and he was forever expressing appreciation for its lessons.

Jere then joined Bostonian Shoe and Leather Co. as a regional sales manager selling shoes up and down the eastern shore. On a trip west in 1954 to hire candidates to represent Bostonian shoes at the Nebraska Clothing Co. he met and soon married Susan Marjorie Day of Omaha, NE. They resided in Hanover, New Hampshire, and their first son, John Day Fonda, was born. In 1959, the family moved to Des Moines, IA, where John F. Day had offered Jere a position with the John Day Co. to open a branch in Des Moines, IA. Matthew, their second son, was born, and the family came to Omaha in 1965. Jere helped grow the John Day Co., opening and overseeing its other branches and eventually becoming the President and CEO.

Jere always had a strong work ethic, and a desire to give back to his community. His involvement in numerous organizations included being a past President of Conservative Savings and Loan, a Board of Trustees member of Omaha’s Children’s Memorial Hospital, and Chairman of its Foundation, as well as many other positions within his Children’s Hospital tenure; Board member of Norwest Bank; past President of the Omaha Country Club; a Councilor of the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben; and a founding board member of the Kevin O’Connor Scholarship Fund. In 1993, Jere and Diane Schaefer were married and spent a loving 30 years together. He loved golfing with family and friends, tennis, and bird hunting. Some would say he was a Turkey whisperer. Jere lived by the three “Fs”–Family, Faith, and Friendship. He was often described in the same sentence as tough, compassionate, and kind. Jere was strong in his convictions, straightforward, a loyal friend, and, most important, authentic.

Jere is survived by his immediate family, including John Day Fonda (Jerrie Lynn Fonda) and Matthew Williams Fonda; his granddaughter, Suzanne Marie Fonda; grandson, James Matthew Fonda (Leslie Fonda); great-grandchildren, Stewart Fonda and Charlotte Fonda; Janice Fonda, mother of James and Suzanne Fonda; and Diane Schaefer’s extended family by marriage. Rest in Peace, Jere, Dad, Grampa, friend.



  • Janice Fonda Posted December 29, 2023 3:30 pm

    He did so much for the community. He will be missed.

  • Kaye Morris Posted December 30, 2023 5:29 pm

    Jere was truly one of a kind. He did so much for so many in his own way.

  • Jim Platte Posted January 3, 2024 12:09 pm

    So sorry for the loss of Jere. He will be missed. Prayers for his family and friends. 🙏🙏🙏❤️❤️❤️

  • Edward Madsen Posted January 3, 2024 12:53 pm

    My prayers for all the Fonda family during this difficult time.

  • Terri Liddick Posted January 3, 2024 12:57 pm

    Such a wonderful man. I have many fond memories working at John Day Co. Thoughts and prayers to all of Jere’s family and many, many friends.

  • Jason Smith Posted January 3, 2024 3:27 pm

    A wonderful business man. Was proud to work for him and our prayers are being sent from Denmark to family and friends.

  • Heidi Wilke Posted January 3, 2024 3:29 pm

    He was such a great man. He did so much for so many
    May he rest in eternal peace

  • Patty Hyde Posted January 4, 2024 12:40 pm

    Jere was such a great man. Kind and caring and it’s so much for many. It was a privilege to know him and his family for so many years. Many great memories with all of them.

  • Nicolette Diamantis Posted January 7, 2024 6:59 pm

    My heartfelt condolences to your family. May his memory be eternal

  • Bill & Dana Miskell Posted January 8, 2024 9:53 pm

    John & Matt and family
    So many memories of your family from the close relationship your parents had with John & Nene Davis to living on 126th Street as our family was growing. Jere had a great and successful life! Our condolences for a life well lived!

  • Suzanne Fonda Posted January 18, 2024 11:27 am

    I miss you so much, Rest in peace Grandpa. Love you forever, Suzanne,

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