MADISON—Gerald Dryer, Sr., father, friend, founder, forecaster, and farmer passed away Sept. 19, 2019, after a long and hard-fought battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. He turned 75 on March 15, 2019.
Jerry had a long career in the dairy foods business as a consultant, market analyst and trends forecaster, that served market participants from the farm to the table. At the time of his death, Jerry was the editor of the Dairy & Food Market Analyst, a weekly newsletter he founded in 1981; Chief Market Analyst at Rice Dairy, a boutique commodity brokerage house in Chicago and president of JDG Consulting, a company he founded in 1978.
Jerry was the very proud father of two sons. Gerald Dryer, Jr. is a career educator and PhD student at the University of Wisconsin School of Education. Andrew Dryer is a film director/cinematographer and photographer working with NGOs and corporate clients worldwide.
Jerry’s brother, John; wife, Reita; and their son, Clifton live in LaValle. His sister, Janet Travis; and her two children, Sam and Sarah in Anchorage, Ark.
In 2012, Jerry was presented with a Distinguished Service Award by the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association. During his acceptance, Jerry listed three accomplishments he was proudest of: Susan Quarne, John Umhoefer and Dick Groves.
He hired Susan into the dairy foods business as he was founding the Cheese Market News, a weekly newspaper that Susan now owns. He hired John in the dairy business a couple of years later, and John is now the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association. Alan is now vice president of communications and strategy at the US Dairy Export Council.
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Jerry was born and raised on a farm near Reedsburg, Wis., graduated from the University of Wisconsin—Platteville in 1966, with a BS in agriculture and from the University of Wisconsin – Madison with a MS in agricultural journalism. He spent seven years in Washington, D.C. working for the National Milk Producers Federation and the US Department of Agriculture, before returning to Madison, where he was named editor of The Cheese Reporter.
He hired Dick Groves and promptly left the Cheese Reporter to found his consulting business and a weekly newspaper, The National Dairy News (now the Cheese Market News) with Harold “Pete” Peterson, inventor of the fines saver and co-jack cheese.
Pete and Jerry sold the newspaper to Gorman Publishing in 1985, and Jerry jointed Gorman as editor of the newspaper, editor of Dairy Foods magazine and editor of The Dairy Marketing Letter, a weekly newsletter Jerry had created in 1978.
Jerry left Gorman in 1989, and subsequently relaunched his consulting business which handled public relations and marketing efforts to help launch the US Dairy Export Council and the dairy futures and options trading at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
He will be missed by his family, many friends and colleagues, who knew him for his warm smile, easy laugh and generosity. His courage and optimism in the face of a terminal illness were inspiring. His remains will be buried in the land he loved during a private memorial for immediate family. In lieu of flowers or cards, please consider donating blood in Jerry’s memory.