Cover photo for Jerry A. Nyberg's Obituary
1938 Jerry 2024

Jerry A. Nyberg

October 2, 1938 — May 26, 2024

Long Beach, Mississippi

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Jerry A. Nyberg, 85, of Long Beach, escaped this mortal realm on May 26, 2024, leaving behind 14 Oregon Ducks football jerseys, 20 golf polo shirts, misc. bird feeders, a pellet gun for shooting squirrels, and a used duck call.

Jerry is survived by his wife of 41 years, “The Lovely Miss Cheryl” (Cheryl Batey Nyberg), and three daughters: Susie McGlothlin (Ryan and grandchildren Ash and Katie) of Portland, OR, Beth Ann Boswell (grandson Will Baker) of Columbus, OH, and Pamela Nyberg of Perkasie, PA.  He is also survived by his youngest brother, Mark Nyberg (Yllka), of Portland, OR, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. 

He is preceded in death by his father, Ardell H. Nyberg (who gave him his dreadful middle name), and mother, Marie Clark Nyberg Gillaspie, both of Salem, OR; eight siblings, and his gallbladder, prostate, and left knee that was never the same after playing college football at the University of Oregon “back in the day.”   

Jerry was born in Sleepy Eye, MN, on October 2, 1938, the oldest of ten children.   His family was the poorest in town which led to his determination to “never be poor again” after he graduated from high school.  His family moved to Oregon when he was 14 years old. While attending North Marion High School in Aurora, OR, he lettered in four sports.  He especially excelled in football and track & field and set a pole vault record that held for a nanosecond.  About two weeks after high school graduation, his mother gave him the unexpected news that it was time to move out, since they struggled to feed and clothe that passel of kids.  She suggested the military might be an option, so he enlisted in the U.S. Army in July, 1957.  

Jerry led a life of adventure which only can be accomplished when you live to be so old.   The Army opened his eyes to the “rest of the world” outside of his small home town.  He reported to Fort Meade, MD, and had enough talent in playing football that he never had to go through Basic Training.  That’s right – never.  After the end of his first football season, he was spotted by Margaret “Skippy” Lynn, Director of the Entertainment Services Div. for the U. S. Army, and asked to perform in the 2nd Army Showmobile’s troupe “Rolling Along.”   He was the Master of Ceremonies (he had the voice) and served as a lighting technician.  They toured hundreds of Army installations in the U.S. and Europe.  He was honorably discharged in September, 1959. 

Following his stint in the Army, Jerry received a football scholarship to Minnesota State Univ. Moorhead.  He played football there for one year before making the football team at the Univ. of Oregon as a walk-on.  He played football at Oregon for two years managing to tear his left ACL during practice the first year and hamstring during practice the second year.  Short-lived but glorious. So began his lifelong love of Oregon and the Univ. of Oregon “Fighting” Ducks.  In his later years while living in SEC country, Jerry loved to watch Oregon football games in sports bars and bring out his duck call every time the Ducks scored – much to the irritation of SEC fans and any dogs in the vicinity.  He subsequently graduated from the Oregon College of Education in Monmouth, OR, with a B.S. (so apropos) in English Literature and Communications.

Jerry held several jobs – bouncer for Phil & Eddie’s Surf Club in Wildwood, NJ, Asst. Football Coach at Temple Univ., hotel liaison & personal driver for billionaire John D. MacArthur – the list goes on and on – before he settled into the hotel business which became his lifelong career. He climbed the “corporate ladder” and went on to become a Rooms Div. Mgr., Food & Beverage Dir., General Manager, Dir. of Operations & Marketing, and regional troubleshooter for various hotel management companies (Sheraton, Hilton, Radisson, Sonesta, et al).  

It was an exciting and arduous career, but the upside is he got to meet many political, sports, and entertainment celebrities along the way.  He drank way too much vodka with Lee Marvin, played chess with Alabama Gov. George Wallace, met President Gerald Ford and Gov. Jesse Ventura (a fellow Minnesotan), let C. J. the orangutan borrow his office while filming a movie, and played in a charity golf tournament foursome with Bob Hope and Bear Bryant.  He was fortunate to be able to hike to the top of Mt. Hood, OR, and raft the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon with his brothers.  He was, however, unfortunate to jump out of an airplane after only four hours of training – without a tandem – and basically tear his left ankle in half when the toggles on his parachute failed to work properly.  Good health insurance is very important.

Jerry was raised Catholic but became a Protestant after marrying The Lovely Miss Cheryl in 1982.  They got married on his birthday so he would not be confused as to when his anniversary was – it worked – he never forgot the date.  He gave her way too much credit for his salvation (for the love of a good woman).  Being a Christian was very important to him, and he was grateful to know that his mother and many siblings were Christians as well.

During their marriage, Jerry and Cheryl lived in 12 states and had over 50 addresses.  Jerry thought it was funny to tell strangers that “he couldn’t hold a job,” alluding to his success at being a hotel troubleshooter.  (That’s trouble “shooter” – not trouble “maker”.)  After about 40 years of traipsing around the country from hotel to hotel, he retired from the hotel business in 2004 in Orlando, FL.   Before moving to the Miss. Gulf Coast, they lived in Orlando for 20 years.

Jerry and Cheryl moved to her home town of Long Beach in 2018.  It was a promise he made to her when they got married.   He told her if she would follow him around the country from hotel to hotel, then when she got ready to retire, he would move to Mississippi with her.  He jokingly told his buddies that since he was 15 years older than her, that he never really expected to live that long.  He was very sorry to leave behind his drinking buddies at the Wing House in Orlando on North OBT.  If you’re reading this, you know who you are. 

There will be no “traditional” memorial service in a sad funeral home or church.  Jerry is not on Earth anymore.  He is in Heaven with God and Jesus.  He has been there since the moment he took his last breath.  Instead, at a later date, there will be a Celebration of Life in Portland, OR, to honor and remember him with a food truck serving his favorite foods – fried chicken and Philly-style cheese steak sandwiches.  Watch for notices and be ready to wear Oregon green and yellow.

Memorial donations in Jerry’s name can be made to your favorite charity.  Or if you really want to honor him in a big way, find a poor kid and mentor him or her.  Poverty is hard to break out of, and he was able to do it because of sheer determination and a college football scholarship.  Or you can go down to your favorite watering hole, where you are instructed to tie on a few and tell stories about the late, great Jerry “Big Jer” Nyberg.   Ketel One martini straight up with a twist – shaken, not stirred.

From The Lovely Miss Cheryl:  This obituary was written and approved by Jerry.  Seriously.  Back during the Pandemic when we all thought we were going to die.  I want to extend a heartfelt “thank you” to the truly exceptional nurses and CNA staff at Dunbar Village in Bay St. Louis, and hospice nurses with VitalCaring, all of whom provided much more than nursing care.  I think everyone there held his hand during some point.   And they gave me more grace and patience than I probably deserved while providing Jerry with a peaceful and compassionate environment during his transition from this life to the next.  

The Riemann Family Funeral Home, Long Beach, is serving the family and online condolences may be offered at www.riemannfamily.com
To order memorial trees in memory of Jerry A. Nyberg, please visit our tree store.

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