Jerry D. Sanders, Sr.

Jerry D. Sanders, Sr.

November 5, 1934 – November 21, 2020


Jerry was born November 5, 1934 in Hastings, NE.

On July 12, 1952 he married his sweetheart Beverly.  They had three children: Jerry Jr., Terry and Jody.  Jerry has six grandchildren: Jerry Sanders III (Shelby), Bill Sanders (Erin), Liz Caspers (Dave), Kelly Kabler (Jason), Katelyn Lehigh and Makayla Lehigh.  He also has five great-grandchildren: Austin, Braden, Jackie, Colson, and Creighton.

Jerry worked in the food sales business from 1949-1992 at Safeway and H.J. Heinz.

As a child he enjoyed baseball and hockey.  Naturally, these two sports would play a major role throughout his life.  Jerry loved to dance.  He learned dancing from his two sisters at a young age.  He and Bev enjoyed dancing and would dance at local venues throughout town.

He was involved in many activities.  Bowling, hockey, baseball, softball, shuffle-board and golfing.  He was a pitcher in a men’s fastpitch softball league that played their home games at Boyd Park.  Golf was his game in the summer.  He had two hole-in-ones in his playing career.  Some of his playing partners were Norm, Ken, Terry, and Bill.  Jerry bowled right up to the day he became sick, participating in two different leagues during the fall 2020 season.

Jerry coached baseball and softball for his kids and enjoyed watching his grandchildren and great-grandchildren play.  You could always find him on the sidelines watching the game, keeping score, and/or arguing with the umpires.

During the holidays, he played Santa Clause for many years for the grandchildren and would make them laugh.

He knew Las Vegas like the back of his hand.  He, Bev, and Connie Claussen made annual trips for over 30 years.  He knew “The Strip” and the best places to gamble and eat.  His favorite place to eat was Peppermill where they became friends with the manager, Peggy.  Bev and Jerry have every trip to Vegas documented in the house.

While Bev made her annual trips to Minnesota for a lady’s vacation, Jerry would golf with his buddies, go out for dinner with his kids or turning into “Tidy Tilly” and get the house cleaned so Bev would not notice.  He and Terry would take their time on trip way up to Minnesota by stopping to play golf 2-3 times along the way.  Once they finally made it to the cabin, Jerry enjoyed fishing, but Bev always caught the biggest one.

Jerry was involved in many activities at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.  He was acknowledged for his contributions to the Lady Mavs program and the hockey team.  He was on the inaugural board for the Blue Line Club.  He and Bev cut out every Maverick Hockey article printed in the Omaha World Herald and made a scrap book for player’s parents and the coaching staff to share with their families.

He served as an off-ice official for the UNO hockey program from the very first game until this past winter.  He was responsible for tallying the shots on goal and manning the video replay monitor at the scorer’s table.  He volunteered his time for the annual golf outings the hockey team and enjoyed the chatting with the hockey players and their families.  Each year former players, coaches, and staff would recognize his face and unique personality.  He enjoyed the players when they would come over to the house for hockey dinners.

If you found him drinking a beer, Miller Lite was his favorite with a tall glass of ice.  Every bowling center and bar that he regularly patronized knew this and would have both his beer and Bev’s 7/7 Tall ready for them when they walked in the door.

Jerry enjoyed the Nebraska football games in Lincoln.  Years ago, he would take the train to some games or a red convertible a friend of his owned.  In more recent years, he and Bev would enjoy the games on television.  He had the perfect key chain for the games.  When the Huskers would score, he would play their fight song after every score.

He and Bev enjoyed the backyard of their home.  As we write this, you can see bowling balls, bird baths, birds and squirrels running in the backyard looking for food.  They even had to budget for all the animals they fed in the back yard.

When the phone rang at home, he would answer “Sanders”.  His trait was never to say “Good-Bye” to anyone when he would hang up.

Jerry never met a stranger and treated everyone that entered his home like family.  Whether you called him “Dad”, “Grandpa”, “Papa”, “Papa J”, or simply “Jerry”, his entire family adored him and will miss him.

If you could have a perfect husband, father, grandpa and great grandpa with dear friends, Jerry was that person.

Heaven has extra laughs and smiles and a special person to be around.  Everyone has a precious guardian angel looking over them.

Survived by his wife of 68 years, Beverly; children: Jerry Sanders Jr, Terry Sanders (Barb) and Jody Lehigh (Todd); grandchildren: Jerry Sanders III (Shelby), Bill Sanders (Erin), Liz Caspers (Dave), Kelly Kabler (Jason), Katelyn Lehigh, and Makayla Lehigh; 5 great-grandchildren: Austin, Braden, Jackie, Colson, and Creighton; various cousins, nieces, nephews and special friend, Connie Claussen.

VISITATION following CDC guidelines: Sunday, November 29th from 2pm to 4pm, at the West Center Chapel.  Memorials may be directed to the family.




  • John & Shirley Fey Posted November 25, 2020 1:26 pm

    The entire Fey family wants the Sanders family to know they are in our hearts and prayers as you go through this very difficult time. Jerry was a most special person, and he will be sorely missed. RIP, Jerry.

  • Ernie May Posted November 25, 2020 1:47 pm

    So sad to hear of Jerry’s passing. He was quite a person. Always had a smile on his face, telling jokes and talking UNO hockey. He will be missed.

  • Deb Denbeck Posted November 25, 2020 2:12 pm

    I am so sorry fro the loss of Jerry. He was a true UNO Maverick and a friend to everyone. He always had a smile on his and willing to help everyone. Jerry made us all better people. May you be surrounded by God’s love and comfort and please know my prayers are with all of you during this difficult time. #maverickstrong. Sincerely Deb Denbeck

  • Susan James Posted November 25, 2020 3:56 pm

    Such a great guy! We are just so sorry and sad. Sending our love to the entire Sanders family….Jerry will be missed by so many! Here’s hoping Jerry and my dad are playing shuffleboard and having a beer in Heaven!!! RIP Jerry.

  • Kent Cisar Posted November 25, 2020 4:01 pm

    Jerry and Bev Sanders are hockey royalty to me. I always walked away from conversations with him with a smile. I’m fortunate to have known him for as long as I did. My condolences to Bev and the entire Sanders family. We will never forget how much joy Jerry gave us. Sincerely Puckhead

  • Paula Buscher Posted November 25, 2020 5:18 pm

    I am heartbroken to hear about Jerry. I have so many fond memories of Jerry during my time at UNO. Great person, wonderful family. My thoughts and prayers to Bev and the entire Sanders family. He will be greatly missed.
    Paula Buscher

  • Marc Austin Posted November 25, 2020 5:58 pm

    Sorry for your lost. Prayers to you and family..

  • Judy and Corky Janing Posted November 25, 2020 8:59 pm

    Our thoughts and prayers are with Bev and the family. He was such a sweet person. He will be sorely missed.

  • John and Lois Posted November 25, 2020 9:04 pm

    Todd, Jody and Girls, We are so sorry to hear about the loss of Jody’s father Jerry. Lois and I always looked forward to seeing Jerry and Bev at all those sporting events. What a special Grandpa he was to the girls. He will be missed by many. We will pray for you guys!

    The Kucks

  • Marty Buckingham Posted November 25, 2020 9:41 pm

    Rich and I send our deepest condolences to you, Bev and your family, Jerry will be missed. What a guy! Always smiling and ready to talk about hockey and help with our BLC luncheons and dinners. Our hearts are hurting. May your special memories sustain you during this time of sorrow. Prayers uplifted.

  • Mary Valentine Posted November 25, 2020 10:15 pm

    So sorry for your loss. Hugs n prayers to the family. He will be missed but always in your hearts

  • Steve and Joan Ingram Posted November 25, 2020 10:46 pm

    As Uncle and Aunt of Grant we want the entire family to know how much Kayla and Kate thought of their Grandpa. We are sorry for your family to go through this very hard time. Take comfort knowing many friends care

  • Ronda Motykowski Posted November 26, 2020 12:32 am

    Heaven is surely blessed to have Jerry entertaining all with his stories. You will be missed by many. Blessings to all of the family.
    Ronda M

  • Mike Patterson Posted November 26, 2020 1:09 am

    Very sorry to hear this news. Whenever our paths crossed – at a UNO hockey game or walking at Westroads – Jerry always had a smile and a kind word. He’ll be missed.

  • Larry & Mary Phillips Posted November 26, 2020 8:28 am

    So sorry to hear of Jerry’s passing. Jerry was one in a million to all of us. So many wonderful memories. Our love to Bev and all of the family.

  • JULIE HENGEMUEHLER Posted November 26, 2020 11:30 am

    I am so sorry to hear of Jerry’s passing. He will certainly be missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to Bev, Jody, and the entire Sanders family.

  • Laura J Anderson Gibbons Posted November 26, 2020 4:05 pm

    We are so sorry to hear about Jerry’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Sanders family.

  • Roger Humphries Posted November 27, 2020 3:30 pm

    Jerry will be missed not only by Blue Line Members but by all who knew him. He was a very gracious to everyone and always had a smile. He will always be in our hearts and cherish the memories of him.

  • Connie Sortino Stiles Posted November 28, 2020 6:44 pm

    So sad to hear about your Dad. I have fond memories of your Dad and my Dad coaching us in softball. My prayers are with you and your family. Praying peace, strength, and comfort for y’all.

  • Lennie Wollen Posted November 28, 2020 6:49 pm

    What wonderful fun memories are flooding in right now. You two meant so much to me. Jerry was such a stabilizing factor and so good with those young ladies. Thank goodness Connie had your influence and Jody was a role model.
    May all these memories strengthen you as you go forward. It is a day by day journey, but you will find that your family is great support as well.
    Again, my deepest sympathies to all.
    Lennie Wollen

  • Owen Thorsen Posted November 29, 2020 12:43 pm

    My condolences to all of Jerry’s family. What a great he was.

    I met Jerry in 1978 at The First Mate. A tavern at 77Th and Cass St.

    We happened to be sitting at adjoining tables. The more I talked to him I kept thinking that I must have met him somewhere else in my past but that wasn’t the case. He was just that open and friendly to a complete stranger.

    A real gentleman. He will be missed by many.

  • Jo Morton Posted November 29, 2020 2:35 pm

    Since about 1960 we knew Jerry. I think at Westlanes Bowling Alley. Then, through softball and hockey. A true gentleman. I’m thinking he and Jim are talking each of these sports. And more. God’s Blessings to each of you!
    Jo and in spirit Jim.

  • Jim Rood Posted November 30, 2020 5:47 pm

    To your entire family, I’m sorry for your loss! Many memories from West Lanes and his kids. Used to see Jerry and Bev walking at the Westroads. Prayers to your family!

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