Jerry Mikeska, 96, passed away peacefully May 12 in Austin. He was born in Taylor, June 5, 1923 to John and Frances Valis Mikeska. Jerry grew up working on his family’s farm, and got his first job at the age of 14 working in a meat market. At age 19, he enlisted in the Army Air Corp to serve in World War II. Jerry was a mess sergeant in the 417th Night Fighter Squadron, which flew the P-61 Black Widow. Jerry received two Bronze Stars. Following the war, he opened a meat market in Georgetown, and after two years, moved to Bastrop where he bought a new meat market. In Bastrop he met and married Arlyne Linenberger, and in 1955 they had their first child, Gregory. Soon after in 1956, Jerry bought a meat market in Columbus and his daughter, Marcy, was born a few years later. In the back of the market he also sold barbecue and sausage, serving it on butcher paper with crackers and bread. Jerry’s meat market ultimately evolved into a well-known barbecue restaurant and catering business, earning him the name “Barbecue King of the Southwest.” He had many loyal employees over the years and many affectionately called him “Boss.” He especially enjoyed visiting with customers, saying “Thank you for stopping with us,” and handing out dollar coins to the children.
Jerry was a strong supporter of the Columbus community over the more than 60 years that he was in business. He was honored to have received awards for his devotion to many local organizations including the Columbus FFA, Fire Department, Peace Officers, and St. Anthony’s Catholic Church. His greatest honor was serving on the Board of Directors for the Columbus State Bank. Jerry loved living and often said that he’d never
had a bad day in his life. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, and ranching. His favorite slogan was “Live, Love, Laugh.”
Jerry will always be remembered by the many lives he has touched. He had a gift for making every person he met feel at ease with his kind manners, warm personality, and genuine smile. Of particular importance to Jerry was his family. He treasured his children, Gregory Mikeska and Marcy Mikeska Ritchie, as well as his four granddaughters, Christine, Michelle, Jessica, and Marie, and son-in-law Mark.
Jerry was preceded in death by his parents, John and Frances Mikeska; brothers Mike, Louis, Rudy, Maurice, and sisters Martha Vanecek, Annie Jozwiak, and Val Lindemann; son Gregory and Arlyne Mikeska.
His daughter Marcy Ritchie and son-in-law Mark Ritchie of Austin, granddaughters Christine, Michelle, Jessica, and Marie Ritchie of Austin, and brother Clem Mikeska of Temple survive Jerry.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a private family only rosary was Monday, May 18 at Henneke Funeral Home. A private family only funeral was Tuesday, May 19 at St. Anthony Catholic Church. The family is planning a celebration of life for Jerry later this year, which will be open to the public. The date is not known at this time. For information regarding the event, please visit Jerry’s online memorial page at https://www.mykeeper.com/profile/ JerryMikeska/ where you can also share videos, photos, and fond memories or messages. The Celebration of Life event page will be updated here.
Serving as pallbearers were Chris Stein, David Divin, Gary Braun, RC Kleimann, Scott Kleimann, Jimmy Kleimann, Jerry Crews, Greg Kosler, Delton Hollman, and Allen Kaminski.
Jerry requested that no flowers be sent to his services, and that instead a donation be made to St. Anthony Catholic Church or School, P.O. Box 669, Columbus, TX 78934 or to your charity of choice.
Online condolences may be given at www.hennekefuneralhome.com.