Mr. Jerry D. Hollingsworth, 87, of Galesburg passed away at 5:55 am Friday, December 25, 2020 at OSF St. Mary Medical Center, Galesburg due to complications from COVID-19.
He was the loving husband of Alice (Parsons) Hollingsworth, to whom he was married for 66 years and with whom he raised five children: Jim Hollingsworth of Galesburg, Julie (Ron) Morris
of Galesburg, Jeanie (Rick) Wilson of Carterville, Illinois, Jane Phillips and Joni (Bob) Kroeger of Centralia, Illinois. He also was the proud and kind grandfather to ten grandchildren: Tara (Jonathan) Williams, Mandy (Jeff) Rose, Shawn Mahnesmith, Brandon (Beth) Phillips, Brianna (Logan) Purcell, Bailey Phillips, Mitchell (Dawn) Kroeger, Madylin Kroeger, Mindy (Eric) Matthews, and Ryan Morris. He also had seventeen loving great grandchildren. He is preceded in death his daughter, Jane Phillips on September 9, 2015.
Jerry was born August 12, 1933 in Galesburg the son of Carl and Mamie A. (Pearson) Hollingsworth. He graduated from Galesburg High School in 1951, and after completing high school, he served in the Army. On leave from service, he met and proposed to Alice. They married August, 1954.
Jerry supported his family and pursued his passion as a carpenter from 1954-1995, helping to build many historical homes in Galesburg, and in 1959, he built his own home on Moshier Avenue in Galesburg (with his colleagues’ help). He was the treasurer for the local carpenters’ union in the late 1960’s and built many a porch, picnic table (adult and kid-sized), and deck for his family members and friends.
Influenced by his creative mother, Mamie, Jerry played lead guitar and banjo in many country and bluegrass bands in the area and was President of the Country Music Association in the 1960’s. In 1969, Jerry moved his family to Petersburg, Illinois, where he became the general manager and brought in dozens of famous Nashville artists at the Illinois Country Opry. With the help of his first band, “The Mississippi Valley Boys,” he started the Opry’s house band, “The Country Giants,” and they performed every weekend and produced several albums. Other bands included the Rambler Express and Pure Country.
While working as a manager and musician at the Opry, he also worked as a carpenter, which he continued when he moved to Galesburg in 1978. Joined by his son, he worked as a carpenter until he retired in 1995.
In his life, he enjoyed two passions in addition to his family, carpentry, and music. He enjoyed weekends in nature at his family’s cabin on the Mississippi River in Oquawka, Illinois, where he spent many weekends. He also built an extraordinary raised village and model train set in the basement of his home, which his children and grandchildren adored and could watch him run for hours on end. In his last years, he enjoyed watching classic Westerns and World War II television programs and visiting his wife, Alice, daily at the nursing home where she continues to reside.
Visitation will be 10:00-11:00 am Thursday, December 31, 2020 at Hinchliff-Pearson- West Funeral Directors and Cremation Services Galesburg Chapel. Due to guidelines associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing and facemasks will be required with limited occupancy. A Private Family Service will be held Thursday with Chaplain Jordan Knight officiating. Those wishing to attend the funeral “virtually” may watch the live broadcast at 11:00 am Thursday on the funeral home’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Hinchliff-Pearson-West-Funeral-Directors-and-Cremation-Services-1603336644037824 . Burial will be in East Linwood Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Online condolences may be made at www.h-p-w.com