In late December of 2016, tragedy struck as Jerry and Jane Slykhuis lives were taken too soon. Although they impacted the lives of seemingly everyone they came in contact with, it is clear they had an enormous impact on bettering and changing the lives of kids/young adults.
For years Jerry was a mentor, teacher and coach. Jerry taught biology while coaching golf for 15 years and basketball for 32 years at Cedar Falls High School; however he is most well-known for being a great mentor for many kids/young adults. A 2009 Iowa High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame inductee, he coached the Tigers’ to 4 state tournament appearances, and can be found in the top 20 for most career wins amongst all Iowa boy’s basketball coaches. Jerry co-founded the Kiwanis Rough Risers in 1980 and loved its mission, “serving the children of the Cedar Valley.” He was heavily involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. After retirement he continued to volunteer/coach as the co-director of the popular Snow Valley Basketball camp held each year at Wartburg College, one of the best basketball skills development camps in the country for 11-18 year olds.
While Jerry was a prominent figure on the basketball court and in the classroom, Jane had the same impact throughout the campus of Northern Iowa. From 1998-2007, Jane served as the director of nursing and health education at the University’s Health Services and then later as a disabled services coordinator. She was described by colleagues as someone who always tried her best to make sure others were treated fairly and with respect, and loved the different challenges she went through each day as she helped faculty and students with disability accommodations. She was also an active member in local chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution and PEO – an international women’s organization focusing on providing educational opportunities for women.
Words cannot come close to describing how greatly the presence of both Jerry and Jane will be missed. They had an unparalleled impact on not only the Cedar Valley, but also the thousands of other lives they impacted along their way.