On January 21, 1925, Gerald E. Wahls was born in Bloomington, IL to Russel Arthur and Lillian Mae Rapp Wahls.
As he grew up they lived in different parts of IL. He considers Gridley, IL his home town where he played in school sports: football, basketball and baseball as a catcher.
Following his tour of duty in the US Navy during WWII as a Signalman 2nd Class he attended Bradley University. This is where he met and then married Luella Mills. They transferred to the University of IL. where he earned his BA in Business. They moved to Detroit where they started their family with the birth of Gretchen Renea Wahls. Soon an infant son, Bruce arrived. Sadly he only lived one hour with them. After some business experience he went to work for Fuller Brush Industrial Products. He was #1 in national sales several times. This was the job which brought him to Indianapolis in 1959. He took this territory from the 2nd worse in the country to the very top.
In 1980 he founded his own company, WISCO (Wahls Industrial Supplies Co.) He sold the company in 2000 when he was 75.
He has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Indianapolis Propylaeum and its activities and programs especially around the different Holiday events as the 4th of July etc.
Until Jerry was 33 he prided himself on his effective debating skills. He always took the side of defending atheism. While in Detroit he had a dramatic conversion to faith in Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. This led to many opportunities to lead Bible Studies and share the love of Jesus with friend and strangers! He even taught boys' classes at the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center. Following the death of Luella after 48 years of marriage he married Janetnelle Weirick Conner on January 19, 1996. They have had the opportunity to work together with the Bill Glass Prison Ministry and Evangelism Explosion plus other Christian ministries and in their church, Walnut Grove Chapel.
In addition to his Bible Study time he has enjoyed the study of nutrition plus "coaching" the Colts, the IU Basketball team and the Detroit Tigers.
He always had a smile and a word of encouragement for each one he met--often followed by a clean joke!
Jerry is survived by wife Jan, daughter Gretchen Wahls Matillo, step-children Betsy Conner Neff (Brett), John R. Conner (Julie) and 5 step-grandchildren: David R. Neff, Catie Neff Brocker (David), Aimee M. Neff, Joseph R. Conner and Jacob L. Conner.
One of his greatest joys was in giving to the support and projects of their missionary family.
Memorial service will be at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 14 at Walnut Grove Chapel, 5825 East 91st Street, Indianapolis, IN. Visitation starts at 3:30 pm.
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