Jerry Ellerman

Jerry Lee Ellerman was born Dec. 27, 1952, at Emanuel Hospital in Portland, Ore., to Mary Belle Rittberger Ellerman and Roy LeVere Ellerman. 
He grew up in Portland, the second of four children, with two brothers and a sister. In 1963 he moved with his family to Edmonds, Wash., where he attended Westgate Elementary school and Madrona Junior High school. He returned to Portland in 1967 and graduated from James Madison High school in 1971.
In 1972, he moved to the family farm outside of Spearfish, S.D., to work with his grandfather Rudolph Ritttberger. He attended Black Hills State College, where he met Linda M. Hasselstrom.
He graduated from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology as a civil engineer and started work with the Wyoming Highway Department in Cheyenne, Wyo., May 2, 1978. He retired there after 30 years working in various capacities including Bridge Design Team Leader and Bridge Operations Engineer. 
During that time, he belonged to the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Lodge 660 in Cheyenne from 1981-86—appropriate for a man who was always benevolent and protective. His many friends include Chris Johnson of Belle Fourche, to whom he acted as a surrogate father, playing an active part in his life throughout his childhood and youth. 
 Upon retirement in 2008 Jerry moved –or as he put it on his Facebook page—“accepted new employment,” with Linda M. Hasselstrom on her family ranch near Hermosa, S.D. He built a woodworking shop with an attached garage for his vehicles, including his beloved 1947 Diamond T milk truck. He also adapted an already-existing building as a blacksmith shop and did considerable woodworking and blacksmithing for his family and friends with only the occasional loss of part of a finger. 
As a consultant to Michael Baker International, Jerry kept his acquired engineering knowledge current. He also headed the Building Committee for the Hermosa Arts and History Association, helping the organization advance rapidly with refurbishing the exterior of the building with new soffits and repaired stucco, and finalizing plans for the interior layout so that the building—constructed in 1889 as the Hermosa school—can be used for museum displays, meetings, research and archival storage. 
He had not done nearly as much fishing as he intended, but recently he enjoyed a day catching nothing in his favorite spots near Hill City, S.D.
Jerry died Sept. 18, 2020, as a result of injuries from a car accident. He was 67.
Jerry is survived by his wife, Linda M. Hasselstrom; his parents, Roy and Mary Ellerman of Edmonds, Wash.; two brothers; one sister; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Halloween was Jerry’s favorite holiday, so a celebration of his life will be held sometime during that week. When he lived in Cheyenne he always wore a costume to answer the door, and would devise elaborate decorations to surprise trick-or-treaters, including a display in the gorgeous garden gazebo he built at 2722 Warren Avenue. 
Contributions in his honor may be made to Hermosa Arts and History Association, PO Box 175, Hermosa, S.D. 57744.

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