Broken Wand: Gerald Herdegen

Gerald Herdegen has passed. He held I.B.M. number 35212 and was a Order of Merlin Shield. He was a member of Ring 211, The John DeVries/June Horowitz Magic Club in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was a “Hall of Fame Member” (honorary member). He was president of Ring 211 from 1985 – 1987. He also served as the treasurer for over twenty years. He participated in many Ring 211 events and provided balloon twisting at the Annual Hocus Pocus Parties, the previous Installation Banquets & Shows, and a few local “Tommy Fitzgerald’s Juice Balsl (fund raiser event in which the Ring participated). He was known as “Choo Choo The Clown.” He performed a few magic effects in his shows but was known as “Balloon Sculpturer Extraordinaire.” He won contests in balloon twisting (affiliated with Clown Alley), was also honored to be a judge at many of these contests, and had a passion to teach the art. Below is a copy of his obituary notice.

Obituary for Mr. Gerald F. “Choo Choo” Herdegen

Mr. Gerald F. “Choo Choo” Herdegen age 76 of Grand Rapids went to be with the Lord on Friday July 7, 2017. He will be dearly missed by his wife of 55 years Kathleen; his children Joseph, Michael (Virginia), Patrick, Paul (Mary), Deborah; grandchildren Scott, Beth, Carl, Camren, Mia, Charlie, Lilia and Gabe; his siblings James (Judy), David (Bonnie), Mary Pechumer and John (Carol); many, many relatives and friends. Jerry graduated in 1959 from Catholic Central High School. He was a member of Clown Alley 44 and the International Brotherhood of Magicians Ring 211. Jerry was a longtime active member of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Tuesday at 11:00 am at St. Anthony of Padua Church where his family will receive visitors one hour before the Mass. The family will receive visitors Monday 6:00 to 9:00 pm at the Arsulowicz Brothers Remembrance Mortuary, 3525 Remembrance Rd NW where the Vigil Service will be held at 7:30 pm. Memorial contributions may be made to the Food Pantry at St. Anthony Church, 2510 Richmond St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504 and online at

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