MADISON - Gerald "Jerry" Alton Whited Yerxa, beloved husband of Helen Springer Yerxa, died peacefully April 17, 2013, at his home. He was born Nov. 10, 1927, in Bridgewater, son of Douglas Ray Yerxa and Margaret Tompkins (Whited) Yerxa.
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He graduated from BCA - Bridgewater Classical Academy and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1945. After his honorable discharge in 1947, Gerald attended the University of Maine, Orono, graduating in 1952 with a Bachelor of Science in agronomy. While at the university, he was a member of Phi Eta Kappa fraternity. He married Helen, Sept. 10, 1950, in Bangor. He accepted a teaching position in the fall of 1953 in Blaine. One year later, in the fall of 1954, he began his 33-year teaching career at Madison Memorial High School. Gerald taught agriculture, biology and earth science to Madison High School students throughout his three decades of teaching. Under Alexander Richard, he also served as assistant principal. "Mr. Yerxa" was highly respected and loved by many of his colleagues, staff and students. During his recent illness, many of his former students reached out to him to share fond memories and express their appreciation of his positive influence. In addition to his teaching career, Gerald was a businessman and entrepreneur. Gerald and Helen moved their growing family to Thurston Hill when they purchased Ray's Dairy in 1958. He owned and operated the milk processing plant for 10 years. Before selling the dairy, he began his home building business, Yerxa Ridge Homes. For a decade, Gerald built homes for families throughout central Maine. After his teaching retirement, Gerald operated his business of managing and harvesting his wood lots. Gerald served on the board of selectman as well as the planning board for the town of Madison. He enjoyed playing golf and was a member of Lakewood Golf Club. He played golf around the state as a member of Central Maine Seniors.
In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by two brothers, Roy Allison Clark Yerxa and William Ellery Yerxa. Gerald is survived by his wife of 63 years, Helen; four children, Dawn Krasnavage and husband, John, of Madison, Peter Yerxa and wife, Carol, of Scarborough, Linda Scott and husband, Ron, of New Gloucester, and Laurie Doherty and husband, Patrick, of Manchester, N.H.; and seven grandchildren, John G. Krasnavage, Eliza and AJ Scott, Kyle and Kailee Doherty and Hannah and Colby Yerxa.
At Gerald's request, there will be no funeral service or visiting hours. The Yerxa family welcomes guests for a remembrance reception 1-3 p.m. Sunday, April 28, at Poulin-Turner Union Hall, 653 Waterville Road, Skowhegan. Arrangements are under the care and directions of Smart & Edwards Funeral Home, 183 Madison Ave., Skowhegan.
Published in BDN Maine on Apr. 20, 2013