Jerry's three singers during the TV era of his orchestra. From your left: Vonnie (West) Meyer, Jan (Wehrenberg/Lee) Fillner, Gloria (Severson) Liles.The images you see are thumbnails.
Jerry at about age 15 (Aug 1941), getting ready to join the tour of the USA with Uncle Ezra Smith's vaudeville troupe, the "Yodeling Ropers C. B. S.".
The Yodeling Ropers touring group. Showing are the mother on fiddle, daughter on guitar, son on bass fiddle, and Jerry on accordion.
The original Gilbertson Crackerjacks. Left to right is Wilbur Selbrede on trumpet, Jerry (Sonny) on accordion, Calvin Sprain on bass horn, Vernon (Bud) Gilbertson on drums, and LeRoy Ender on clarinet. Photo taken in 1939.
This is believed to be Jerry's grade school graduation picture, taken in 1940.
This is the second Crackerjack Band. Photo taken in 1945, it shows Harley Meyer on bass horn, Clayton Andreasson on trumpet, Marion Hauge on clarinet, Vernon (Bud) Gilbertson on drums, Jerry on accordion, and Anne Mahlum on piano.
This is believed to be Jerry's high school graduation picture. Jerry graduated from Holmen High School.
This is the third of Jerry's orchestras. Photo was taken in 1948. Left to right is Stan Christopherson on clarinet and saxophone, John (Duly) Quinn on clarinet and saxophone, Harley Meyer on bass horn, Stan Fischer on trumpet, Bud Gilbertson on drums, and Jerry on accordion.
This is believed to be the very first dance poster that Jerry made. Note the date on the poster.
Special party put on by the Guttenberg, Iowa mobil home builder. Front row left; Don Stulken on clarinet and saxophone, Ron Carr on clarinet and saxophone, Don Matson on trumpet, Marlin Schneider on clarinet and saxophone, Clarence (Shorty) Wieczorek on drums, and Jerry on piano.
This is one of Jerry's first combo gigs. It took place about 1969 in the Des Alps Night Club, formerly the Roadhouse, formerly the Medary Night Club, in La Crosse. Accompanying Jerry is Bob Mitchell on banjo and Bob Selbrede on bass horn.
Photo is of Krome's Bar in West Salem (the old one), taken about 1970. This is where Jerry and Bob Selbrede really cut their teeth as a duet, although the duet played many radio programs over some 20 years. Note the early Shure microphone that Jerry is using. Our "stage" was very close to Krome's coat rack.
Another view of Jerry's Trio, believed to be taken at the old Onalaska Legion Post. This shows Bob Selbrede on bass horn and Tony Jorgenson on banjo, with the mutton chops. Tony was getting ready for Coon Valley's 1974 Centennial Celebration.
This is a formal portrait of Jerry, taken in 1978. Notice the martini glass sticker on his accordion, probably courtesy of Herb Krome.
One of Jerry's favorite pastimes was being involved in a jam session. Here is a St. Patricks Day one held on a Saturday morning at the Old Maple Grove Country Club, right after the Breakfast Club radio show. Shown from the left is Arlan Pfaff on cowbell, O.J. Romskog on rattle (maraca), Jerry, Harley Meyer on bass horn, Bob Mitchell on banjo, Mary Lou Meyer on washboard, and Eric Parsons on trumpet. Quite a band - one lead and six rhythm instruments.
This photo was taken in 1982 at Carpenter's in Mauston by Myron Holley, a fellow accordion player. The combo - Tony Jorgenson, Jerry, son Jim, and Bob Selbrede played a dress-up occasion at this swank nite club.
One of Jerry's last Saturday Morning Breakfast Club gigs. Earl Hunter was Master of Ceremonies for the day. Event took place at Bridgeman's Restaurant owned by Herb Lee and is presently the SSE Music Store on La Crosse's north side.
This was the last formal (sic) photo taken of the Jerry Gilbertson Orchestra. Taken July 15, 1990 at Matter's Ballroom, Decorah, Iowa. Left to right are; Jim Gilbertson on drums, Bob Selbrede on bass horn, Jerry Gilbertson on accordion, Derren Osley on clarinet and saxophone; Jerry Johnson on clarinet and saxophone, Arlan Wekseth on trumpet, and Ralph Proksch on piano.
Benefit Dance for Jerry, following his stroke. Held at the Ridgeview Supper Club. Left to right; Bob Selbrede on bass horn, Jake Olson on clarinet and saxaphone, Ellis Erickson on clarinet and saxaphone, Jim Gilbertson on drums and vocals, Arlan Wekseth on trumpet, Lloyd Foltz on piano, and Dick Hagedorn on accordion. That's Helen pushing Jerry's wheelchair.
Jerry Gilbertson Dec 08 1925-Oct 15 1998
WEST SALEM, Wis. -- Gerald E. "Jerry" Gilbertson, 72, of West Salem, died Thursday, October 15, 1998, at Franciscan Skemp Medical Center, La Crosse.
He was born Dec 8, 1925, in Mindoro to Edwin and Gylda (Evenson) Gilbertson. On Aug 16, 1949, he married Helena Jansen in La Crosse. Jerry had a great interest in music. At the age of 15, he joined a vaudeville troupe called the Yodeling Ropers for one and a half years. Jerry then played with Dale Simons' band, the Blue Denim Boys. He joined the army and was in special services at Fort Sheridan, where he played at the officers club.
After the army, Jerry rejoined the Blue Denim Boys until 1948 when he formed the Jerry Gilbertson Band. His band played at the Avalon Ballroom in La Crosse for six years. They also played on the KWNO radio program in Winona, Minn., on Sundays at noon, for several years. After expanding to an 11-piece band, they played on a television show for WKBT, in La Crosse, and WEAU, in Eau Claire on Thursday nights for nine years. Jerry also had a duet that played for the Breakfast Club radio program on Saturday mornings for 11 years at the Maple Grove Country Club. Over the years, Jerry's band played for many weddings and dance parties.
He was a member of Christ Lutheran Church and the Berg-Hemker Post 41, both in West Salem. Survivors include his wife, Helena; six children, James of West Salem, Debra (Larry) Stello of La Crosse, Paul (Barbara) of West Salem, Leatta (William) Danielson of Ennis, Mont., Jan (Thomas) Stancil of West Salem, and Keith (Susan) of Shakopee, Minn.; seven grandchildren; his mother, Gylda Gilbertson of West Salem; one brother, Vernon "Bud" (Joyce) of Rushford, Minn., and several nieces and nephews. He was preceeded in death by his father; a grandson; a sister; and a brother.
Funeral services will be held on Monday, Oct 19, at 11:00 a.m. from Christ Lutheran Church, 500 Park St., West Salem. Rev. Paul Johnston will officiate. Burial will in the church cemetery with military rites by the West Salem American Legion Post 51. Friends may call at the Jostad-Jandt Funeral Home, 121 N. Youlon St., West Salem, on Sunday from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m.; and at the church on Monday from 10 a.m. until time of service. Memorials may be given to establish a music scholarship in Jerry's name at the West Salem High School.