LAKE CRYSTAL — Jerry Rollings was one of those people who touched many lives, which was apparent in the Lake Crystal area the past few days.
The entire community seems to be grieving the loss of the 66-year-old resident of Garden City, who worked, coached and volunteered in Lake Crystal for many years before he died Friday of cancer.
On Tuesday Lake Crystal-Wellcome-Memorial staff were out scouting a location to plant a maple tree in Rollings' honor. Others sent emails and were eager to talk to The Free Press about how dedicated Rollings was to the LCWM school district and Lake Crystal community.
And friends and former students, many of whom he coached in softball, filled his Facebook page with inside jokes and tributes.
“Hey Jer Bear. Sitting here reminiscing (about) all the good times on the diamond and remembering all the great advice you've given us. Thank you for giving me the extra push, motivation and encouragement that helped me get to where I am. 'Don't be a lettuce! Don't lettuce down!' Miss you already!! See you in paradise,” wrote Whitney Johnson.
Rollings was a husband to Renee, father of three and grandfather of six. He was an agricultural teacher at Amboy High School from 1969-1976, a Farmland Industries employee in Mankato for more than 20 years, and he worked in economic development for the city of Lake Crystal. Most recently he worked at MinnStar Bank.
What many people are remembering Rollings for is his community service. He was instrumental in starting the LCWM Booster Club in the 1990s, which has raised almost $400,000 since its inception, and he coached girls fast-pitch softball for years in Lake Crystal.
Rollings served as Kari Schwarz's assistant softball coach until 2009, when he announced to the players he had cancer. Then he became an honorary coach when he couldn't be on the field.