Gerald T. Antcliff, “Jerry”, “Jug”, “Gorilla”, “Grandpa Clown”, and “The Big Guy”, 80, a resident of Calumet, passed away peacefully on Friday, February 1, 2019 at the Houghton County Medical Care Facility in Hancock.
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Jerry was born on September 8, 1938 in Battle Creek, Michigan to Theodore and Emma (Johnson) Antcliff.
He attended the local schools and graduated from Owosso High School with the Class of 1956. Following high school, Jerry enlisted with the United States Air Force. There, he was a member of the 1st Rocket Engine Tech Class, the 392nd THOR Squad, and the 576th Atlas IBCM Squad. He was honorably discharged in 1961.
After leaving the U.S. Air Force, he worked for several aerospace contractors including Boeing, Douglas Aircraft, and McDonnell Douglas.
He then left the aerospace field to work as the Upper Peninsula Area Division Representative for the American Cancer Society for 15 years. While with the American Cancer Society, he met and married Kristine Rowe of Laurium. He retired from the American Cancer Society and went on to work for GTE Government Systems, where he was the team manager for several projects. In his time with GTE, he and Kristine travelled often and moved from place to place several times. They loved to come to a new town and learn all about the area while getting to know the local people. They became very adept at moving and making new friends. He would tell people that they could pack up and move in just a matter of hours.
In the last few years, Jerry spent his time volunteering at the Calumet Theatre. He would give tours of the theatre in the summers, and work as an usher, and as security for the shows. He was very proud of all the stars that he got to meet, and of all the time that he got to spend with them when he was their local tour guide.
At the age of 6, Jerry fell in love with the Copper Country. He would spend his summers and 30 day leaves from the U.S. Air Force up in Copper Harbor.
He loved to talk about aviation. You could often find Jerry speaking at space and aviation engagements, and he loved to tell people about his experiences in the field.
Jerry was a family man. He loved when the family would take trips to Disney World, he was involved in Boy Scouts with his stepson Andy, and the Civil Air Patrol with his stepdaughter Amy. He would also give special Clown presentations with his partner “Fidget”, Kristine. He loved to take his grandchildren to Copper Harbor, to the Houghton County Airport, and to many of the local parks so they could play.
Jerry led a very interesting life, and was well known for all of the stories that he told of his different experiences. Anyone who knew him, had heard many of his stories, sometimes several times. He loved to entertain people. He truly was a people-person. If you met him once, he considered you a friend. His positive attitude and his humor will surely be missed.
Jerry is preceded in death by his parents, Theodore and Emma Antcliff, an infant twin sister, a beloved brother-in-law, Billy, and recently, an “adopted grandson”, K.J. Rowe.
He is survived by:
His wife of 42 years: Kristine of Lake Linden
His stepson: Andy (Pam) Rowe of Laurium
His stepdaughter: Amy (Jake) Garrow of Calumet
His step grandchildren: John M. Rowe of Marquette, and Jake Jr., Bethany, and Daniel Garrow, all of Calumet.
Per Jerry’s wishes, cremation has taken place, and a small gathering will take place in the summer.
Jerry’s family would like to express our deepest gratitude to all of the great caregivers he has had over the past several years. There have been so many, that it would be impossible to name you all. Please know that he appreciated you all very much, and he would often tell us of the day’s events. He knew so many of you by name, and looked forward to seeing you in your next meeting. You weren’t just his caregiver, you were his friend.
In lieu of expressions of sympathy, donations may be sent in Jerry’s name to the Calumet Theatre, 340 6th Street, Calumet, Michigan 49913.
Online condolences for the family may be left at www.ericksoncrowleypeterson.com
The Erickson Crowley Peterson Funeral Home in Calumet is assisting the family with the arrangements.