Jerad Avery, born Feb. 2, 1969, in Grand Island, Nebraska, died Nov. 18, 2019, in Kalispell.
Jerad spent his childhood in various locations such as the Sand Hills of Nebraska, Torrington, Wyoming, and eventually settled in Joliet, Montana, with his mother Belinda (Cheyney) Puzder and sister Miranda (Avery) Peltier. He attended a one-room school for his elementary years in Boyd, Montana. It was in high school at Joliet his passion of basketball began, inspired by his coach Weldon Amundson.
After graduating from Joliet High School, he enlisted in the Navy and enrolled in electronics school. Upon completion of electronics school, he was assigned to the USS Midway and served during the First Gulf War. After completing six years of service in the Navy, he earned his bachelor’s degree in history-secondary education from Oklahoma State University.
After graduating, he moved back to Montana and became a teacher at Geraldine High School. In Geraldine, he met his future wife, Leila Brown, and began his coaching career. In 1998 his daughter Teigan was born and so began the Avery family. When living in Geraldine, Leila was accepted to pharmacy school at the University of Montana. While Leila and Teigan went to Missoula, Jerad continued teaching in Geraldine for another two years. He then joined them in Missoula and pursued his Master of Counseling degree as Leila finished her education. During his time at the University of Montana he was a graduate assistant to the men’s and women’s Basketball teams. When they both graduated from the University in 2003 they moved to Kalispell where he was hired as a high school guidance counselor at Flathead High School. At Flathead he was the junior varsity girls’ basketball coach for five years. In 2004 his son Tyler was born, thus completing the family. When Glacier High School opened he was transferred there and continued his role as a beloved guidance counselor and began coaching freshman boys’ basketball.
He loved the game of basketball and looked forward to each season, spending hours preparing defenses and offenses, making sure the Xs and Os fit the team rather than making the team fit the Xs and Os, ensuring each player was utilized to their maximum potential. Although he had a huge love of basketball it paled in comparison to his love of his children. He would move mountains for his children, spending his summers shuttling them from one golf tournament to another and driving thousands of miles. He was happiest watching them be successful. Teigan and Tyler were a huge source of pride for him.
He is survived by his wife of 21 years Leila, children Teigan and Tyler, mother and stepfather Belinda and Tim Puzder, father Raymond Avery, sister Miranda Peltier, nephews Noah and Tristan, mother and father-in-law Lorraine and Steve Don, and brother and sisters-in-law Johannas Brown, Juletta Gilge, and Breck Don, and many other relatives.
The family would like to thank all for the support the community and schools have given during this tragedy. The outpouring of love is felt and greatly appreciated.
A memorial service for Jerad will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 24, in the Glacier High School gymnasium and a Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 25, at Risen Christ Catholic Church, with internment to follow at Glacier Memorial Gardens.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Ritzman’s Children’s Fund, P.O. Box 2677 Kalispell, MT 59903; or your charity of choice.
Johnson-Gloschat Funeral Home and Crematory is caring for the family.