Jerry M. Conklin, age 82, of Colon, took his final bow after a courageous battle with cancer, and went to be with the Lord on March 29, 2010, while residing at his Colon home, with his family by his side.
Jerry was born Feb. 18, 1928, in Battle Creek, a son to the late Gaylord and Lois (Horton) Conklin. Jerry’s early life was spent in Battle Creek, where he graduated from Battle Creek Central High School in 1945. Following graduation, Jerry served in the U.S. Army with the Special Services Entertainment Division.
On June 24, 1951, he married Shirley A. Robertson in Battle Creek. She preceded him in death on March 31, 1987.
While living in Battle Creek, Jerry worked as a milkman for Ashley Dairy. In 1961, Jerry moved his family to Colon and began working at Abbott’s Magic Company. Soon afterwards, he became a professional magician, and the ”family of magic” known as The Amazing Conklins traveled throughout the United States, Nova Scotia, New Foundland, Quebec and New Brunswick. In the 1960s they performed at the Boy Scouts National Jamboree in Colorado Springs, Colo. They also performed on Chicago’s Bozo Circus Show and were also invited to perform on” The Ed Sullivan Show.” Jerry and Shirley also traveled together with the Hetzer Brothers Circus. After Shirley’s passing in 1987, Jerry slowed down a little, but he said the show must go on, so he downsized his act and continued on with his love of magic and performed at school assemblies all across the United States. For something a bit different, he traveled one summer with a fair circuit, announcing pig races, which he enjoyed, too. The Amazing Conklins performed at the Abbott’s Magic Get Together in Colon 12 times and in 1999 they received the Jack Gwynne Award for Excellence In Magic.
Jerry had a love of working and he never slowed down. When he made the decision to stop traveling with his magic, he purchased two concession trailers and operated those at many events throughout the state of Michigan. Jerry was also employed as stage manager for the Sturges-Young Auditorium for 19 years and he was also the lighting/sound technician for the Abbott’s Magic Get Togethers. His most recent employer was Colon Public Schools, where his title included lunch and playground supervisor and an aide on the bus for special needs children.
He liked to be involved in the many community events that took place in Colon, such as the annual Fourth of July and Halloween festivities.
Jerry was a member of the Colon New Life Assembly of God Church.
He is survived by one daughter, Cindy Conklin, of Colon; one son, Mike (Penny) Conklin of Constantine; four grandchildren, Shawnee (Tanya) Big Mountain of West Richmond, Wash., Stacy (Mark) Kittle of Colon, Kylie (Adam) Bowen of Centreville and Christina Conklin of Constantine; five great-grandchildren; one brother, Jarney (Yvonne) Conklin of British Columbia, one sister, Gayla (Jim) Nelson of Battle Creek and several nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his longtime companion, Lady, his faithful Saint Bernard.
The family will receive relatives and friends from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Friday at the Schipper Funeral Home in Colon. Funeral services celebrating the life of Jerry M. Conklin will be at 11.m. Saturday at the New Life Assembly of God Church, with the Rev. Daniel Prus officiating.
If desired, the family suggests memorials be given to the New Life Assembly of God Church in Colon or the American Cancer Society.