Jerome (Jerry) Kosovich

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Jerome (Jerry) Kosovich

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Jerry left this world to join his heavenly father on October 21, 2013, after a brave battle with Alzheimer’s. His life was a testimony to the saying “pray like it depends on God, but work like it depends on you”.

Jerry Kosovich
Jerry Kosovich

Jerome was born on September 5, 1920, in the small coal mining town of Klein, MT to his parents, Michael & Madeline Kosovich. He was known throughout his childhood years as “Harry” to avoid confusion with the two notorius dynamite hauling mules for the coal mining camp, that were named “Tom & Jerry”. Jerry also counted Red Lodge as home, having spent a year there living with his sister, Anna Yelich and attending elementary school. He held many fond memories in his heart for Red Lodge. After graduating from Klein High School Jerome worked for the Bair Collins Coal Co. and also enjoyed playing basketball for their traveling basketball team. The bombing of Pearl Harbor inspired Jerry to join the war effort, and he enlisted in the US Army Air Corp, later to become known as the United States Air Force and Jerry served as a radio operator on a B26 “Widowmaker” in the South Pacific. He survived a crash with his first crew, which killed the co-pilot, and he was the only member of that crew that chose to continue flying. He proudly served under Major Butts and though he hestitated to talk about WWII in his younger years, more recently he shared his “Major Butts” stories. After the war ended Jerry used the GI bill to attend both Montana State Normal School in Dillon (now UM Western) and the University of Montana in Missoula. He was always proud to be a Grizzly. Also a big NFL & PGA fan, however, Jerry had the attitude that these athletes made a lot more money than him, so he spent that time away from the TV working instead. Jerry had the chance to put that work ethic toward his life insurance career. While attending UM, he was presented with the opportunity of joining New York Life Insurance Co.. This lead to a long and satisfying career of 60 + years. Jerry was a chartered life underwriter and a life time member of the Million Dollar Round Table. He was a past president of the Southeastern Montana Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. In 1969 Jerry received the Man Of the Year award from the Montana Association of Life Underwriters. This honor recognized his outstanding service to his profession, his associates and to his community. He was one of the first Montana agents of New York Life to be elected by his company peers to serve on the Agents Advisory Council in 1964 at the company’s home office. Jerry treasured people and NYLIC was a perfect fit for him.

In 1949 Jerry married the love of his life, Anne Badovinatz in Roundup, MT. Together they raised four children, whom he was very proud of. They also experienced the grief of losing an infant son. Jerry & Anne enjoyed traveling and seeing the world with several NYL trips that Jerry had earned and later taking cruises with good friends, Orris & Audrey Anderson. They loved spending time at their second home in Big Sky and being gracious hosts to family and friends. Jerry has passed his love of museums, history, travel, golf, and the outdoors to his children and grandchildren.

Jerry was proud to have been an early member of the Yellowstone Country Club, served on the Knights of Columbus, was a past president of the Billings Kiwanis Club, a mentor to the Key Club High School Service organization and lector for many years at St. Patrick’ s Co-Cathedral. He was also just as proud to spend time with his family golfing, fishing, playing gin rummy and teaching them Croatian words.

Jerry was preceded in death by his infant son Steven, his parents Michael & Madeline and his siblings, Anna Yelich, John Svetich, Katie Svetich, Peter Kosovich, Josephine Kosovich King, Madeline Kosovich Spangler. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Anne, by his children: Craig (married to Glena) of Seattle, Ken (married to Barbara) of Billings, Jon (engaged to Jessica) of Billings, Carol (married to Jay) of Helena, by his grandchildren: Erin (married to EJ) and Camden (married to Kira) Kelley, Kevin, Matthew & Courtney Kosovich, Caden, Jarek and Bowen Kosovich, and Ashley (married to Jason) Anderson Browne, Kirsten, Erik, and Carlyn Anderson, and by his great-grandchildren: Ethan & Emma Kelley, Fischer Browne, and Anna Kelley.

The family would like to thank Jerry’s wise doctor, Neal Sorenson, the nurses and staff at Marquis Grand Park, and Rocky Mountain Hospice for their kind, compassionate care to Jerry. As Dad would say with a big smile on his face “thank you” or “hvala” in Croatian.

“Do vidjenja Deda” (Goodbye Grandpa) until we meet again.

Vigil service will be 7:00pm Friday and Funeral Mass 10:00am Saturday, both at St. Patrick’s Co-Cathedral. Rite of Committal with Military Honors will be at Sunset Memorial Gardens.

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0 thoughts on “Jerome (Jerry) Kosovich”

  1. I was saddened this morning to learn of the passing of Mr. Kosovich. I had the privilege of knowing him briefly during my time many years ago with New York Life. Jerry, and his son Ken, were very giving of their time to a new agent, and they were well respected throughout the office. My deepest sympathy to the family, and my prayers for those of us who remain behind. May he rest in peace.

  2. Jennifer Yelich Peabody

    I send all my love to the family. Uncle Jerry was a wonderful man. One of my favorite memories with Jerry was the last visit he had with my Dad. He was so brave to make the effort because my dad was very ill. We shared several hours revisiting his years in Klein and Red Lodge. He was so good to my Grandma Annie as well. He will be dearly missed!
    Jennifer Yelich Peabody, Ekalaka, MT

  3. I have always had so much respect for Jerry. I worked with him at New York Life for 30 years and he taught me so much about the insurance business and, most importantly, about the importance of serving clients. He was an awesome person & we send out sincerest sympathies to Anne and the family.
    Ruth & Bob Sprankel

  4. Betsy Manley Steffanich

    Dear Anne and Family,
    I have such fond memories of Jerry. He was such a gentle man and so kind. I used to love going to the office with my Dad. Jerry always made me feel so special. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Love to all…….

  5. Larry and Pam Zaharko

    Ken and families, please accept our deepest sympathy for your Dad’s passing. Jerry was a huge force behind NYL where he got us all,esp. Jake and Wilma, set up with life insurances and annuities. You have followed in his footsteps so he was obviously a good teacher of the trade. He offered me a job when he came to get me set with my life insurance policy. He will be greatly missed but it’s always a blessing to know that he’s not suffering anymore. Our prayers are with you all that you may find comfort in knowing that Jerry’s in a much better place now that the suffering is over.

  6. Dear Ann, Craig, Ken, Jon, and Carol,
    I’ve started this message several times trying to find the right words to say. I was very sorry to have learned of Jerry’s passing. I have fond memories of my early childhood living across the street from you, and of all the fun times I had playing with Ken and Jon and the other neighborhood kids, and of how you always made us feel welcome at your house. I knowJerry is in a better place and at peace, and while my work schedule, unfortunately, prevented me from attending the service and paying my respects properly, I want you all to know you’re in my thoughts..

  7. Dear Ann and all your family …… I did a lot of reminiscing as I read Jerry’s obituary …. recalling how much my whole family enjoyed having yours for neighbors when we lived there. My sons had some special relationships with your sons (Craig and Kevin come to mind, as they worked together at the mine for Johns Manville). You and Jerry were always so good-natured and friendly. I treasure those years! I send condolences to all of you, and pray that your pleasant memories of Jerry will bring you comfort and peace. From Bev Wallace and all the “boys” – Kevin, Bryan, Dale and Keith.

  8. I was so saddened to read of Jerry’s passing. I got to know Ken & Jerry when I participated in a School-to-Work program at NYL as a Sophomore in high school. Jerry offered me a job the following summer & winter break, and as a result I later went on to a wonderful career in the NYL General Office as a young adult. I will forever remember Jerry as one of the sweetest souls and always respected & admired his dedication to his business. He was passionate about his work and it was obvious that it was because of his love for helping people. Without fail, Jerry would show up every year with a box of chocolates at Christmas for all of us girls in the office. I will never forget that. It was an honor & blessing to have known Jerry, he will be dearly missed. My deepest sympathies to the family.
    -Josie Nelson, Billings, MT

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