Brookside Funeral Home & Crematory
YAKIMA - Jerry L. Groenig, 75, gently passed into the arms of his Heavenly Father on Sept. 22, 2013 at Cottage in the Meadow with his wife Beth by his side. His diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma had come just a brief two weeks prior.
Gerald (Jerry) Lorin Groenig was born in Yakima’s St. Elizabeth Hospital on March 20, 1938 to George and Alice Groenig. Other than his years at Northwest Nazarene College and the University of Oregon, he spent his whole life in the Yakima Valley. At NNC, he met and fell in love with Beth Schwabauer to whom he was married for 51 years.
Within the family, Jerry was best known as Dad, Grandpa and “Uncle Jerry.” In the community, he was probably best known as Coach Groenig. He started his basketball coaching career almost by accident. During his first year of teaching (at Wapato), Head Coach Russ Insley, was left without a JV Coach. So, Jerry “gave it a try” ... 50 years later he was back at WHS in the same position where it all started! During the years between, he became Head Coach at Wapato, Davis, East Valley, West Valley, East Valley again, and Connell. He also spent two years assisting Dean Nicholson with the Sun Kings. As Grandpa, he was blessed to be able to help coach two of his grandsons, Brennan and Jackson.
Jerry dreamed big in everything he did. He carried that characteristic into church choirs he directed, both teen and adult, teen activities he organized, trips to Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii for basketball teams and real estate developments such as Lake Aspen and Willow Lake. He served his alma mater, Northwest Nazarene College for 3 years as Alumni President and was honored by them with both Professional Achievement and Distinguished Service Awards. In 1974-75 he was named AA State Basketball Coach of the Year. After his first retirement, he was inducted into the Washington State Basketball Coaches’ Hall of Fame. Even more importantly, Jerry shared his personal faith in God by investing in the lives of others, especially young people.
His favorite get-away and vacation spot was Rimrock Lake at the Bear Cove family cabin where he liked to fish, treat people to “boat rides,” enjoy friends and family and take long naps.
Jerry is survived by his wife, Beth, their children, Lynn (Marc) May of Yakima and David (Kirsten) Iseminger of Lake Stevens, brother, Glen Groenig of Bellingham, six grandchildren, Brennan and Jackson May, Nick, Maddie, Ella and Audrey Iseminger. He was preceded in death by his parents, son Gregory, brothers, Gene and Gilbert.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 1:00 PM at the West Valley Church of the Nazarene. An opportunity to share written memories with the family will be available at the service. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to support the mission efforts in Guyana through West Valley Nazarene Church. A memorial fund will also be established through Wapato School District.
Arrangements by Brookside Funeral Home & Crematory.