Gerald Donakowski, 87, of Alpena died Tuesday, November 1, 2022, at MyMichigan Medical Center-Alpena.
Gerald was born April 28, 1935, to the late Philip and Myrtle (Minton) Donakowski in Alpena, Michigan. Jerry was raised in Alpena and attended Catholic Central High School. He married his sweetheart, Carolyn Baker on May 22, 1954; they celebrated 68 years together. Early in their marriage they moved to Lachine to their dream hobby farm, where they raised their family. They both believed their children were their world and family came first. Jerry was a kind, gentle and self-sacrificing son, husband, father, brother, and friend. A role model for his children always!
Jerry had a 30 plus-year career as a repairman at HPC. Upon his retirement, he spent 2 years working for his son Bryan at CSI, Inc doing millwright work throughout the northeast United States. He then, spent another 20 plus years working side by side with his son, Randy, putting up steel buildings across the U.S. and in Dominica. Jerry thrived on hard work and had a work ethic second to none. His love of the road was the perfect match for his working with Randy—“we will drive straight through, only stopping for fuel” was their motto. He was happiest tinkering in his garage—there wasn’t anything he couldn’t fix. He always had a backup of repair jobs from family members waiting for his attention.
Jerry was an inspiration for all of us to work through life’s obstacles with a smile and without complaint. This was especially evident when his body began to fail, and his brain was sharp as tacks! His faith in God brings us comfort and his “Family First” brings us together.
Surviving are his wife and best friend of 68 years, Carolyn; children, Michelle (Kim) Miller, Bryan (Laurie) Donakowski; daughter-in-law, Peggy Donakowski; 16 grandchildren, Adam (Karen) Miller, Missy (Brad Hohs) Miller, Nicole (Jeremiah) Blaauw, Trisha (Chris) Burger, Travis Donakowski, Justin Donakowski, Dylan Donakowski, Kissy (Jeff) Beebe, Alicia (Matthew) Liske, Ciji (Nick) Marckini, Preston Donakowski, Matt (Ashley) Burg, Andrew (Cindy) Burg, William Holsworth, Catherine (Brian) Kauffman, Erica Digue, Brett (Larissa) Digue; 18 great grandchildren; siblings, Patsy Hanna, Philip Donakowski, Danny (MaryAnn) Donakowski, Richard (Sherry) Donakowski, and Robert (Sue) Donakowski.
Jerry was preceded in death by his son, Randy Donakowski; and brother-in-law, Clarence Hanna.
Visitation will take place Monday at Bannan Funeral Home from 2-8 p.m. with a parish prayer service at 7 p.m. Visitation will continue Tuesday at St. Bernard Church of All Saints Parish from 10 a.m. until the Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. with Rev. Tyler Bischoff officiating.
Inurnment: Holy Cross Cemetery
Memorials: Thunder Bay Arts Council Bi-Path Sculpture Project or Friends Together