Jerry Glen Commean

April 23, 1951November 20, 2020

Jerry Glen Commean, 69, of Chatham, stepped out of his earth suit and into the loving arms of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on November 20, 2020 at Memorial Medical Center, following a six month battle with brain cancer. He was born on April 23, 1951 in Herrin, Illinois to Albert Lyle Commean and Elaine Hopkins Commean. Jerry married Karen Surprenant on September 2, 1988 in Springfield and she survives.

Jerry was a man who loved the Lord and loved people. He was honest, faithful, loyal, trustworthy, ethical and kind. His life was one of integrity. He loved people and talked easily to everyone he came in contact with. He knew people from all walks of life and had a heart for the homeless.

He was a beloved husband to Karen, a loved father and grandfather to his children and grandchildren. He will be sorely missed by all of them.

Jerry had a wide variety of experiences in life.

He’d started out delivering newspapers as a child, later stocking at a grocery store and working in a men’s clothing store while in college.

Jerry was a salesman extraordinaire. Karen used to say that he could sell ice to an Eskimo. He sold life insurance for Prudential, John Hancock and Franklin Life; law books for Matthew Bender; Christian yellow page ads for The Light in Central Illinois; alarm systems for George Alarm; appliances for Dick van Dyke Appliance World. He’d owned two businesses, the first was Safeguard Business Systems and the other his Farmers Insurance Agency, where he was working when taken ill. He loved being his own boss and the freedom of not being tied to a desk. He was diligent at his work and never had to be persuaded to go to work. He was excellent at explaining how insurance worked to his customers, taking as much time as needed so they could fully understand. His customers loved him. He had opportunity to take advantage of his customers, which would have been to his financial benefit but, being an ethical and honest man, he never did, always putting their interests above his own.

Jerry attended Union University after high school but never earned a degree. He told Karen he majored in billiards, not being completely serious about his studies as a young man. Later he attended Lincoln Christian College and then Latter Rain, where he studied children’s ministry.

He ministered at Taylorville Correctional Center for some 20 years, appreciating the opportunity to help change the course of the men’s lives.

As a teen, Jerry had taken some of his earnings and bought a motorcycle. He only had it for a year or so before his mother made him sell it due to the Chief of Police dropping by to tell her he was going to get himself killed on it. He said that he cried on one end of the house and his mother cried on the other, because she knew how much he loved it. About ten years ago he was able to realize his dream of getting another motorcycle, this time being much more responsible. He rode it summer and winter, as long as there was no snow or ice on the ground and the temperature was above 32.

Jerry’s mom had often told the story of how, as a little boy, Jerry had “painted” his grandfather’s brand new car. Unsure of how her father would react, his mom had positioned herself between her father and her son. Apparently Grandpa wasn’t as upset as one would expect because Jerry lived to see another day.

Jerry loved technology, especially being on the cutting edge. He had a bag phone when that came out, graduating to a cell phone, a blackberry and then iphone. He hated change and resisted going from blackberry to iphone but was happy he had upgraded once it was up and working. He’d had a laptop in the days prior to Windows, back when DOS was the system and one stuck a floppy disk into the drive to load the program. He was happy when Windows came out and he was better able to maneuver around the computer.

His children recall him teaching them to play chess. He usually didn’t like games, only in the past couple of years being persuaded to play Phase 10 with Karen.

He sometimes exhibited a dry sense of humor, his eyes crinkling when he laughed.

He was an adventurous eater, always willing to eat whatever was put before him, and expressing gratitude for the hands that had made it and the God who’d provided it.

He was heartbroken when his son Jonathan passed away at 1, following open heart surgery to correct a congenital defect. He especially loved his Pekingese Jonah and was quite distraught when Jonah died suddenly several years ago.

He was a member of Abundant Faith Christian Center for the last 20 years, serving as an elder there. He was affiliated with a variety of organizations including Businessmen in Christ, Christian Motorcycle Association and Washington Street Mission.

Jerry is survived by his children: Melissa Buchanan of Springfield, Timothy Commean of Herrin, David Surprenant of Springfield, Mark (Emily) Commean of Chatham, Marci (Bryan) Coble of Chicago and Nicole Dodge of West Bend, WI., and eleven grandchildren: Michael Surprenant, Dylan Surprenant, Avery Commean, Matthew Coble, Tyler Dodge, Kayla Dodge, Brody Commean, Cody Dodge, Bella Dodge, Caleb Coble and Gwendolin Coble. He was preceded in death by his parents, an infant son Jonathan Commean and a grandson Gideon Coble.

Friends are invited for open house calling hours from 1:00 pm until 7:00 pm on Tuesday November 24, 2020 at Bisch and Son Funeral Home, 505 East Allen Street. CDC Guidelines will be followed regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic. A private burial will take place at Chatham Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Abundant Faith Christion Center, 2525 Taylor Avenue, Springfield, IL. 62703 and please visit the online “Life Remembered Story” at


  • Abundant Faith Christian Center


  • Open House Calling Hours

    Tuesday, November 24, 2020

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Jerry Glen Commean

have a memory or condolence to add?

Emily Finegan

November 25, 2020

Lomelda Dwyer ask me to send this: "My Sympathies." "Jerry was a good, loving husband and son."

Jerry was my only first cousin in America. He and his parents were a very important part of my life as a child in Energy and Herrin, Illinois. My Condolences, Emily

Rosemary Connolly

November 25, 2020

Oh Karen, I am so sad for you and your family at this time of sorrow. Jerry was very wise to me when I needed advice and I respect that. He was a humble example of kindness. May Jerry rest in peace ~ Amen

Kathryn Hobbs

November 25, 2020

Jerry & Karen were pivotal in helping GOD fulfill HIS CALL on my life , GREAT TEACHERs & GREAT FRIENDS. Yes Jerry was a MAN of IMMENSE FAITH & LOVE 4 GODs People. I Will SO MISS HIM, hes in Heaven with my Daddy & that brings me comfort. I LOVE YOU KAREN COMMEAN , please reach out if you need something!!♥😥💙💜✝

David Nelson

November 24, 2020

Karen and family, I am so sorry to hear of Jerry's passing. I met him as your husband, at Businessmen in Christ group, and selling ads for The Light. Even as an acquaintance I knew Jerry was sincere, caring, and loved Christ. We will meet again. Karen, I wish the best for you and you family.

Gail Ramsey

November 24, 2020

I met Jerry when I switched insurance companies. He had a gift in explaining the policies that made it clear, always making sure I understood them fully — which took patience! He was a great agent, but through the years became a good friend. He was a kind man and will be missed. My sincere condolences.

Scott Croft

November 22, 2020

Rest in Paradise Jerry.

Eddie Oller

November 22, 2020

I met Jerry through The Christian Motorcyclists Association and thoroughly enjoyed his company.
Riding our Harley Davidson scooters together, hanging out at meetings (including Business Men in Christ), fellowship meals, and most importantly, conversations about our Lord Jesus are memories that I will cherish all my life.
See you in the air Brother!

Lea Joy

November 22, 2020

I met Jerry first and then was introduced to his wife, Karen, and we have been friends every since. Always working to understand and live the Holy Bible and it's promises literally. Jerry and church, he was one of the few people that one could always put those two words forever together-as he taught, worked, and was a faithful servant til he could no longer physically do it. As for you Karen through all the changing thoughts and emotions that you will go through there is one fact that you can bet your life on that is where Jerry Commean is right now - without pain and smiling that huge smile of his.

Susan Lee

November 22, 2020

Jerry was such a nice neighbor! He always had a positive word to say and always ended a conversation with "Have a Blessed Day". I know he is with our Lord that he worshiped and lived to be like everyday. My sympathy to Karen and the family.


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