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Rev. J L. Garmon
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Obituary for Rev. J L. Garmon

Rev. J.L. Jerry Garmon, 82, of Marshalltown, passed away on Sunday, January 28, 2018, at Accura (Hawkeye) Care Center.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, February 8, 2018, at The First Church of the Nazarene in Marshalltown, Iowa. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at the church. Memorials may be directed to Nazarene Compassionate Ministry’s at The Church of the Nazarene, 1015 S. Center Street, Marshalltown, Iowa, 50158. For condolences please visit Mitchell Family Funeral Home is caring for Jerry and his family. Phone 641-844-1234.

Jerry was born April 30, l935 in Des Moines, Iowa to his parents Marian and Ira Garmon. From the time he was born, his Mother spent many hours in prayer for what God would have in store for her son. At the age of 13, he attended a Billy Graham Crusade in Des Moines, Iowa where he sensed a call to the ministry. Two years later, he was diagnosed with the degenerative eye disease Retinitis Pigmentosa, which his older brother Robert also had. Jerry attended various public schools in Des Moines, Iowa and graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1953. After months of dating Ruth Anderson, a beautiful girl he’d met, teased, and sung with at Des Moines First Church of the Nazarene, he asked for her hand in marriage, and they tied the knot on July 11, l953. Pursuing a call to preach, Jerry enrolled in Olivet Nazarene College and they moved to Bourbonnais, Illinois. He was employed with Gould National Battery Company while studying for the ministry. In 1957, they moved to Beloit, Wisconsin where he accepted his first pastorate position at Rockton Church of the Nazarene, which was a new church that Jerry organized and got started. This was also where his daughter Debbra was born. The following year he moved his family to Rockton, Illinois where they resided for 4 years while he fulfilled his ministry duties. A son, Randy, came along and increased the family nest to four now. In 1962, another move took Jerry to the great state of Iowa, specifically, Bloomfield, where he pastored The Nazarene Church there. Another son, Rick, was born here and during this time Jerry was also ordained as a minister in The Church of the Nazarene International. The Iowa City, Iowa Church of the Nazarene called Jerry in 1966 and he accepted the invitation and moved his family of five to ‘Hawkeye’ country where he ministered for the next three years. It was in 1969 that Jerry accepted the senior pastor position to lead the Marshalltown, Iowa First Church of the Nazarene. Later during this time, his eyesight was continually diminishing and he was declared ‘Legally Blind’ and could no longer drive. His wife, Ruth, came along side and helped him even more with his pastoral duties. But he didn’t let it stop him! It was here that J.L. also served as the Iowa District NYPS President for the youth of the Nazarene Church for 6 years. His sense of humor and gift for teasing drew in many and relaxed those kids who had never experienced fun at church before. From 1964-1969, Jerry and his wife served as Children’s Summer Camp Directors on the Iowa District, leading, teaching, and water ballooning back any kid who got him first.:)   In 1977, Marshalltown Nazarene Church began a building project to expand the facility and in 1997, they celebrated with a Mortgage Burning Ceremony after the mortgage was completely Paid in Full. Empty nesters then, Jerry continued to minister to his flock in Marshalltown for 29 years and performed many church weddings, their kids’ weddings, and then their grandkids weddings. He Loved it! In May of 1998 after 4 decades of life in ministry, Jerry resigned from the Marshalltown church feeling visually incapable of fulfilling all the roles necessary to lead a church properly. He said what he missed the most was his church family and being able to walk side by side with them through life’s journeys on a weekly basis. After deciding between moving out of state to live near his kids, knowing no one else there, nor having any visual reference point, OR, staying in Iowa where they were both born and raised, having siblings still alive on both sides along with their church friends, and a memory of the towns he had had vision in, Jerry and Ruth made the decision to continue to reside in Marshalltown.   He was able to fill in for vacationing ministers of churches in need of temporary pulpit fill, late into his 70’s at which time Jerry was nearly completely blind. After moving into Assisted Living, he continued to speak, pray, and call upon those who were in need. He was blessed with a church family who remained faithful and came to visit, call, tease, laugh, feed and run errands for him, especially after Ruth’s passing. Judy Harvey became a close friend who was near and dear to Jerry's heart and she called and visited often from Minnesota. He will be remembered for his sense of humor, his warm heart, and his love for Jesus.

Jerry was preceded in death by his wife, Ruth Eloise Anderson Garmon, his parents Marian Ruby Merwin Garmon and Ira Lee Garmon, his brother Robert (Agnes) Garmon, and a daughter Jerilyn and son Roy who were lost during pregnancy.

Survivors include his 3 children, 5 grandchildren, and 6 great grandchildren:   Daughter Debbra (Richard) Dooms of Idaho. Son Rev. Randy (Beverly) Garmon of Colorado, with their children Jamey Garmon of Colorado, and Charla (Boe) Benefield and their children Carter and Anika of Idaho. Son Rev. Rick (Karen) Garmon of Idaho, with their children Josh (Mandie) Garmon and their children Kinsley and Evan of Idaho, Holly (Augustine) Luna Jr. and their children Jordan and Eli of Idaho, and Heather (Cameron) Rowenhorst of Iowa.   

The Garmon family would like to express their love and appreciation to all the members of the Marshalltown Church, both past and present, for being the ‘hands and feet of Jesus’ to our father and mother who are now “absent from the body, but in the presence of our Lord”. Also a very special “Thank You” to the staff at Accura (Hawkeye) Care Center, Iowa River Hospice, and previously, Glenwood Place for their continued care, calls and concern for both of our parents. Mitchell’s Family Funeral Home has brought us much love and comfort during this time of transition, and for that we are truly grateful.

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