Jay A. Serres

December 19, 2018

JANESVILLE -- Jay Allen “Ratchet” “Jaybird” Serres peacefully passed away from his ongoing battle with cancer at his sister’s home in Fort Atkinson on Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. Jay was surrounded by family and loved ones as he started his journey to heaven.

Jay was hatched at Fort Memorial Hospital in Fort Atkinson on May 6, 1964. Jay grew up in Rome and graduated from Jefferson High School, class of 1983.

Jay was a mighty good man to many, many people. Jay spread himself around trying to help out as much as he could to make someone else’s life easier and funnier. Jay enjoyed telling a good story and hearing a naughty joke and of course the naughtier it was, the better. Jay’s interests were many and varied from the literature he read, which crossed over from old-time Westerns to science fiction to cooking to Hagar the Horrible and the Family Circus (we often thought of him as Jeffy). Jay loved every librarian and book store owner he met across the country.

To make his living in this world, Jay went down to Kentucky to attend semi-driving school. Jay was a long haul, cross country semi-driver for 12 years, part of which was spent team driving with his then girlfriend Gloria Parrell. Jay and Gloria went separate ways as drivers and remained forever lifetime friends, often meeting for morning coffee in one state and having supper in another state that same day when their schedules would align.

While still a greenhorn and wet behind the ears, he worked as a pit crew member at Jefferson Speedway and had lots of fun playing with the race cars.

To round himself out and prove his brain power and mechanical prowess, at age 16, Jay took on a bet for enough money to buy a six-pack of beer. His challenge was to get an old 1938 Mack logging truck up and running, thus a mechanic was born. Jay went to school for auto mechanics but decided the parts were too small and the spaces were too tight for his large hands. So he moved on in a big way by becoming a diesel mechanic. Not only could he drive his semis, he also fixed them. What a man. As such, Freightliner benefited from Jay’s knowledge and experience by hiring him as their cross country diesel mechanic for 10 years, traveling through all 48 continuous states.

Jay also enjoyed trains. Following his time with Freightliner, he worked for a short time in the mountains of New Mexico, repairing train cars. He certainly liked the scenery way up high, but not the thin air, so Jay decided to stay closer to home and worked for his favorite type of employer, the mom and pop owners who made him feel like family and invited him into their lives. The first of which was Charlie Johnson in Janesville, where Jay lived. His second and final mom and pop work family was with Shawn and Michelle Topel in Lake Mills, working as their service technician. There he was a very, very happy man and felt welcomed into the family.

Jay is survived by his mother, Ann Dale (Valitchka) Serres; sister, April Joy Justina (Shane) Wagand; nephews, Billie James Sorrel and Devon John Sorrel; niece, Samantha Colby Arias; extended family, Robert “Rabbi” and Jill Anderson, longtime personal friends, the lovely Gloria Parrell, Mike Probst and Vern Bayer, his lovely lady friend, Nancy Banister, “Ma” Johnson and her beautiful girls of Janesville, and several aunts and uncles.

He was preceded in death by his father, Albert Peter Serres; sister, Robin Irene Serres; brother, Jack William Serres; and nephew, Eli Albert Sorrel.

Funeral services will be held at 12:30 p.m. on Friday at the Dunlap Memorial Home in Fort Atkinson. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. on Friday at the memorial home until time of service.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the family, April Wagand, 1555 Commonwealth Drive Apt. 7, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538.


Dunlap Memorial Home

604 S. Main St. Fort Atkinson

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