Gerald W. “Jerry” Heppler


Gerald W. “Jerry” Heppler, 91, of St. Joseph, passed away Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at Spectrum Health Lakeland in St. Joseph.

Jerry was born September 6, 1929, in St. Joseph, to William and Vivian (Carlson) Heppler. Jerry was a 1947 graduate of St. Joseph High School and Michigan Technological University, where he gained the knowledge to become a civil engineer, being licensed as such in both Michigan and Indiana. After attending college, Jerry served his country in the Army as a Lieutenant in the Korean War. He married Mignon (Karnik) in June of 1954 at Saron Lutheran in St. Joseph. Jerry was the President & CEO of Yerington Construction for 20 years before the business dissolved in 1994. After leaving Yerington, Jerry returned to Southwest Transport Company, which his family acquired in 1991. He enjoyed staying busy in life, from serving on the Lakeland Regional Medical Center Board for over 25 years to being the City Manager of St. Joseph and interim City Manager of Benton Harbor. In his free time, Jerry enjoyed building homes with his friend and coworker at Wightman & Associates, Maurice Rushlow. Together they spent many weekends building homes together throughout the area. He also found enjoyment in playing golf, especially at Berrien Hills Country Club, and watching football.

Jerry is survived by his children, Scott G. Heppler of Hartford, Leigh McAnany of Benton Harbor and Brian K. Heppler of Benton Harbor; his grandchildren, Kasi K., and Mazi M. Heppler; and son-in-law, Blaine McAnany. He was preceded in death by his wife, Mignon of 65 years; his parents, William and Vivian Heppler; and sister, Joyce Zellinger.

A private family service will be held at a later date. Burial will be at Riverview Cemetery in St. Joseph. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Humane Society of Southwest Michigan. Those wishing to sign Jerry’s Memory Book online may do so at


Posted On: Monday, October 12, 2020 3:26 PM