Longtime volunteer, entertainer, and community leader, and most of all Chicago Cubs Fan, the late Jerry Beier, will be honored on this year’s Dwight Harvest Days button.
Designed by Barbara DeWaard, the buttons are in red, blue and white and feature several symbolic messages to illustrate who Jerry was and what he meant to the community.
Surrounding the button on the outer edge is “What A Wonderful World,” Jerry’s trademark song, with the “B+” logo between the song title repeated in a circle.
B+ is Jerry’s blood type, which was used to secure a match and acquire a kidney donation from his niece, Blakely Moulton, in 2012.
In the center is Jerry’s Big Kahuna logo (for his D.J. business) overlayed on the Chicago Cubs red “C.” the button also features the dates of this year’s Harvest Days, Sept. 15-17.
Jerry died of health complications Dec. 2, 2016, after finishing his final year as Harvest Days Chairman, the year the event had to be moved to Renfrew Park due to construction downtown.
“This button is our way of honoring him,” said Randy Irvin, chairman of Harvest Days.
Buttons will sell for $2 and the profits from the sales will be split between Harvest Days and a charity to be named at a later date, according to Harvest Days Chairman Irvin.
Irvin took over this year after Jerry retired following a near-decade stint as Harvest Days Chairman.
“Jerry was good to work with,” Irvin said. “He had interest in the community.”
He described Jerry as “thoughtful” illustrating his forethought when last year’s event would mean the parade was moved away from the residents at the Fox Developmental Center. Irvin said Jerry wanted to make sure the residents would be able to see the parade, and he made arrangements to do so Irvin said Jerry was an inclusive person, but Irvin and others like his fraternal brother Gary, described him as a guy who had difficulty delegating responsibilities.
That got to be wearing on Jerry by his last years with Harvest Days when he was doing the event with less volunteers, commented both his brother and Irvin.
Irvin said he has a lot more volunteers for this year’s event.
“As volunteers dropped off, Jerry ended up putting a lot on his shoulders,” Irvin said.
Irvin as this year’s chairman appreciates the work Jerry did all those years.
“It’s a full-time job,” Irvin said.
Gary agreed it was hard work for Jerry too.
“I knew Harvest Days was harder than it had been in past years,” Gary said. “He’s just one of those guys. He probably took on more than he should have. He took a lot of pride in that.”
Many people said Jerry will be “missed;” and some have described him as a youngster growing up in Dwight.
For example, brother Gary told The Paper a story about how when Jerry was young, he would play “feather baseball.”
He would take a feather, blow it up into the air, and then “call” the game like Harry Caray of Chicago Cubs fame.
“He imitated Caray’s voice and everything,” Gary said. “He always loved baseball.”
Dwight Police Chief Tim Henson first met Jerry as a student at Dwight Schools when Henson was the town’s “Officer Friendly.”
“Even back then he was an entertainer, always trying to get a smile or laugh out of his classmates.”
Later, as Harvest Days Chairman when Henson became police chief, he said “Jerry was the face of Harvest Days.”
Henson’s description of Jerry also included a permanent positive attitude Jerry brought to his fellow human beings.
Tracy Anderson, a co-worker for more than two decades with Jerry when Beier was manager of the former Turtle’s Tap in downtown Dwight, agreed with Henson’s assessment of Jerry as a positive person.
In his honor, the “B+” organization in Dwight, both a reference to his blood type and his positive attitude, will be generating funds for a scholarship at Dwight High School.
B+ workers will man the Harvest Days booth on Thursday, Sept. 14, the opening night of events. All proceeds from the booth will be used for the Dwight Township High School scholarship. The hope is to continue the scholarship for years, with the first award to be given at the close of the 2017-18 school year.
She said the scholarship in Jerry’s memory will be awarded to a student who has a major interest in music, plus the volunteer skills that Jerry possessed.
“Jerry and I grew up together since I was three years old,” Anderson recalls.
Gary, Jerry and Tracy were the three musketeers, always hanging out together for many years.
“We were all good friends in school,” she said, adding that she worked with Jerry for 23 years at Turtle’s Tap.
“He was outgoing, very caring and a good friend. He’s missed every day.”
Marcie Todd, another friend and Turtle’s co-worker, said Jerry “always had a smile on his face. I miss him dearly.”
Jerry also worked at The Paper for many years.
“He was a team player,” said Mary Boma, publisher and former neighbor of Jerry when they were growing up. “We enjoyed his quick wit and his cologne. And we miss him.”
Jerry leaves behind his wife, Catherine, of rural Blackstone, and their three children: Eden, 14; Iris, 13; and Oren, seven.