Gerald Gonder

Obituary of Gerald Dewayne Gonder

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Gerald Dewayne Gonder, aka Jerry O'Donnell, age 59 of Midland, Michigan, peacefully went to be with Jesus surrounded by his loving family at Toni and Trish Hospice House in Auburn, Michigan on April 25, 2024 after an extended illness.


He was born to John and Berneice (Bancroft) Gonder on June 17, 1964 in Traverse City, Michigan. He graduated from Benzie Central High School in 1982. He was active in band, 4-H, where he raised 1and competed with show cattle, and Future Farmers of America, where he was honored to serve as local chapter secretary and then state president. He also enjoyed singing with Lake Ann United Methodist Church choir during his high school years. He studied communications at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City, Michigan before beginning a career in radio, which spanned WBNZ in Benzonia, Michigan, WLDR in Traverse City, WGER in Saginaw, and lastly, retiring as Broadcaster Emeritus from Dow Diamond in Midland Michigan as the voice of the Great Lakes Loons.


In addition to calling Loons games, a professional passion was doing voiceovers for radio and television commercials and documentaries, as well as auctioneering for fundraisers.One of the work projects that he was most proud of was the documentary Ships of the Great Lakes, which he narrated and co-produced with his friend and colleague Tom Mays. He had a passion for the history and stories of the vessels that sailed the inland seas and was thrilled to share his knowledge and enthusiasm with viewers.


He was a spicy foodie who enjoyed cooking, gardening, growing his own jalapeno peppers, and sharing a large collection of hot sauces. He loved animals, especially his dogs, bird watching, and anything to do with cows. In his final weeks, he derived great pleasure from tongue tacos, particularly, but not limited to, beef.


He loved spending time with his wife, Jennifer Marshall-Gonder, and his favorite home leisure activities included playing Pokemon Go with his wife or watching documentaries on musical legends.  He was a devoted father who enjoyed spending time with his sons. He was also fond of a certain famous reality show featuring particularly unaesthetic surgeries.


He will be sorely missed by his family, including loving wife, Jennifer; sons, Jordan, Jared, and Trevor; and step-son, Caleb Marshall-Stevens. Also surviving are his mother, Berneice Gonder; brother, John Alden (Sharon) Gonder; sisters, Yvonne (Jim) Schwind, and Laverna (Mike) Witkop; as well as many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, and dear friends. He was preceded in death by his father, John Alvin Gonder in 2010. Gerald “Jerry” provided a great gift to others, by being a Gift of Life donor, and donating his corneas. The family would like to express their gratitude for their loving care and hospitality for Gerald “Jerry” and family during his stay.


A memorial service will be held at 10:00 AM, May 28, 2024, at Dow Diamond, 825 E. Main Street, Midland Michigan. In lieu of flowers, those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider memorial contributions to the Toni and Trish Hospice House of Auburn, MI,

Benzie Central High School/FFA/Student Activity Account (, The “Jerry O’Donnell, ‘The Voice of the Loons,’” GoFundMe campaign to help family with expenses at

The family expresses deep gratitude to Dow Diamond of Midland, MI for the recent dinner/raffle fundraiser they sponsored on Gerald “Jerry's” behalf.

Gerald/Jerry, who so much loved his career of broadcasting and alluding to his love of cows, once distributed a business card advertising his radio station and featuring Jerry O'Donnell, “Herd Worldwide.” Later, while in hospice care he quipped, “My voice has been heard on every continent except Antarctica...but the family is working on that.” Jerry, we wish you all the best in Heaven where we know you will be well “herd” as you continue to broadcast... and while you're at it, save us a seat on the bus!  To sign online guestbook, visit  Arrangements made with the Cremation Society of Mid Michigan.


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Memorial Service

10:00 am
Tuesday, May 28, 2024
Dow Diamond
825 E. Main Street
Midland, Michigan, United States
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Gerald Gonder

In Loving Memory

Gerald Gonder

1964 - 2024

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