Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes

205 E Washington, DeWitt, MI


Gerald Michael Nester

March 28, 1942February 1, 2020

Gerald M. Nester (Jerry) of DeWitt passed from this life on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020, age 77. He was born March 28, 1942 in Albion, Michigan, son of Michael and Geraldine Nester. As a youth he played tennis and basketball, became an avid Spartan Sports Fan and was an honor student.

He earned a BA from Albion College, MA and PhD from Michigan State University and pursued a career in Special Education Administration with Clinton and Genesee Intermediate School Districts and the State of Michigan Department of Education. He was also an adjunct professor at Eastern Michigan University. A DeWitt resident since 1976, he was active in Cub Scouts, AYSO soccer (coach and official), DeWitt Ox Roast and taught Sunday School. He served on the city Planning Commission, City Council, and as Mayor of the City Dewitt from 1989-1994, helping to establish a sister city relationship with Konan-Cho, Japan. He was also honored in 1998 as the DeWitt Citizen of the Year.

In retirement, he pursued his interest in gardening at home on the shores of Lake Geneva and became a docent at the MSU Horticulture and Beal Gardens, including donating many plants from his vast collection to start the Hosta section of the Horticulture Garden. He was also a very active and knowledgeable docent at Potter Park Zoo, leading tours, landscaping and, his favorite activity, playing Santa Claus at the Wonderland of Lights each Christmas season. He also enjoyed travels to Europe and national parks with his wife, always finding more gardens and zoos to visit.

His survivors include Rosemary, his wife of 53 years, sons John (Elissa) Nester of Lexington, SC and Tim (Holly) Nester of Lansing, and four wonderful grandchildren Jack and Maxwell Nester of Lansing, Gabriela Nester and Roman Smith of SC; sister, Gail Smith of McCaysville, Georgia.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to University United Methodist Church, 1120 S. Harrison Rd, East Lansing, 48823, or Potter Park Zoo, 1301 S. Pennsylvania Ave, Lansing, MI 48912. A Celebration of Jerry’s life will be held at 10:30am, Monday, February 17, 2020, at University United Methodist Church. Family will welcome friends before and after the service and a buffet luncheon will follow.


  • Celebration of Life Monday, February 17, 2020


Gerald Michael Nester

have a memory or condolence to add?

Merry Strohmer

February 14, 2020

Sorry to learn about Jerry's passing. I met Jerry at Potter Park Zoo as we worked with others in the gardens there. I enjoyed talking with Jerry about plants, especially Hostas, since my yard was 95% shade, too, and the plans we all had for the gardens at PPZ. It was an uphill battle with many frustrations. My deepest sympathy Rosemary to you and your family. He was a nice man.

John Nester

February 11, 2020

Dad, I will miss you. You gave me so much. I will always remember the lessons you taught me, and use them to be a good father.

Ray Easton

February 9, 2020

Rosemary & Family,

I'm sorry to read about Gerry's Passing.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your Family. My heartfelt condolences go out to you and your Family.

Ray Easton

Gary & Judy Koelsch

February 5, 2020

Judy and I met the Nesters at Redeemer Methodist Church in DeWitt in 1980. My favorite memory was coaching John and Tim in the Methodist church league headed by Jim Shonkweiler. We played our games on the 3rd floor of Central United Methodist Church. Jerry was a wonderful man to have a conversation with in their house on Lake Geneva or on a pontoon boat ride. God bless Jerry and his lovely family.

Pam Baker

February 4, 2020

I remember when Gerry and Rosemary first joined Universty UMC. Gerry taught a Sunday School class in which I participated. It was a class where Gerry shared the humor in religion based upon a book we read about a young pastor. Gerry made this a fun class. I remember him like this. He will be missed.

Maxwell Nester

February 1, 2020

I remember playing golf with him and having great times with him he always made me smile I love my grandpa - Maxwell Nester