“I’ve never met a stranger...”
Jerry Lee Baskett, age 85, of Green Lake, passed away at home on March 15, 2021 with family by his side. Whether you are one of his many friends or acquaintances, or perhaps met him just once while he enjoyed a cup of coffee in the deli at Webster’s in Ripon, it’s obvious Jerry never met a stranger in his life. With his big smile and outgoing personality, proudly wearing his patriotic leather vest and veteran’s baseball cap, Jerry made new friends everywhere he went.
Born in Vincennes, IN on February 10, 1936, Jerry grew up in Glenn Orphan Home in Terre Haute, IN. He joined the U.S. Navy at the age of 17 and was thrilled to have “sailed around the world twice before he was 21”, proudly serving in Korea, Cuba and Vietnam during his enlistment.
He honed his cooking skills in his ships’ galleys earning both the rank of Commissaryman Second Class, and the nickname “Biscuit” from his fellow sailors. Many of his fondest memories, and most entertaining life stories, were from his years in the Navy.
After leaving the Navy, Jerry settled in Ripon and Green Lake, WI with wife Darlene. He worked as a chef for several years, including time at Ripon College and the Green Lake Conference Center (formerly the American Baptist Assembly). He also owned his own interior/exterior painting business for many years. When not working, you’d often find him at the lake, rod and reel in hand.
Once “retired”, he continued to share his home cooking with family, friends and neighbors, specializing in homemade spaghetti sauce, steak dinners and Midwest “surf and turf” (fish caught from Big Green and venison). He used his painting expertise to freshen up his kids’ first homes and shared (most of) his fishing secrets with his children and grandchildren over the years.
Jerry loved people and the most important people in his life were his family. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Darlene (Zwolski) Baskett; his four children, Earl (Patty) Baskett and Shelly Shelton, both of VA, Rebecca Baskett of MN and Bonnie (Rick) Baskett-Harvey of WI; six grandchildren, Timothy (Andrea) Baskett and Echo Baskett, both of VA, Leslie (Laura) Shelton and Andrew Shelton, both of NC, Josephine Harvey and Jacob Harvey of WI; two great-grandchildren, “Baby Baskett” (arriving in August) and Phillip Shelton; and several nieces and nephews. Jerry was preceded in death by his parents and his siblings Dorothy LaFleur, Jack Baskett and William LaFleur.
A visitation will be held on Saturday, March 27, 2021 from 9:00 am – 11:00 am with a funeral service beginning at 11:00 am at Butzin-Marchant Funeral Home, 515 Mayparty Dr., Ripon, WI 54971. If you are unable to attend the funeral in person, you may view a livestream by visiting www.facebook.com/butzinmarchant/live/ at 11:00 am on Saturday. Interment will follow at Dartford Cemetery in Green Lake with a Final Salute with Military Honors.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Green Lake American Legion Post 306, P.O. Box 448, Green Lake, WI 54941 or the ThedaCare Family of Foundations, Regional Gift Processing Center, 1818 N. Meade St., Appleton, WI 54911.
Our family is grateful for the care and kindness provided by Dr. Jared Kohlenberg and the ThedaCare At Home Hospice team; special acknowledgment to Karin, Brittany, Kristina, Angie and Brianne for your expertise and compassion.
Please visit www.butzinmarchant.com to send online condolences.