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In Memory of Jerry Cognetta


4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Tuesday August 9, 2022
O'Connell Family Funeral Home
520 11th Street South
Hudson WI, 54016

Mass of Christian Burial

11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Wednesday August 10, 2022
St. Patrick Catholic Church
1500 Vine Street
Hudson Wisconsin

Jerry Cognetta, age 75 of Hudson, WI (formerly of Elmwood, WI), was called to heaven on August 3, 2022 while surrounded by family after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. Jerry was born on July 31, 1947 to parents Philip and Marie Cognetta. He graduated from Hill High School (Hill Murray) in St. Paul, MN, before continuing his education at the University of Wisconsin – River Falls where he earned a degree in education. Jerry married the love of his life Julie Asher on August 17, 1974, and together they raised three children.


For 39 years, Jerry was a committed teacher and softball coach at Elmwood High School. He began coaching the girls’ softball team in 1977.  It was his knowledge of the game and ability to connect with aspiring athletes that achieved a record of 301-39 in his 19 years as coach.  This included nine state tournament appearances, two state championships and a 63-game conference winning streak. In 2003, he was inducted into the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame at the University of Wisconsin River Falls as a player and a coach. In 2019, he was inducted into the Wisconsin Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Following his softball career with Elmwood, he coached the Elmwood high school baseball team for six years, and then served as an assistant softball coach at University of Wisconsin Stout for five years. Jerry coached all three of his children. He concluded his softball and baseball careers as an umpire, often partnering and trading calls with his son Vinny.  Second only to his family, Jerry was most proud of the accomplishments of the students he taught and the players he coached.


He will remain in the hearts of his wife Julie; daughter Cheristi (Steve) Cognetta-Rieke and their son Francis Rieke; his son Vinny (Laura) Cognetta and their children Vincent and Luca Cognetta; his son Ario (Allison) Cognetta and their son Enzo Cognetta; as well as many beloved in-laws, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. He is preceded in death by his parents and brother Phil Cognetta.


A visitation for Jerry will be held on Tuesday, August 9 at the O’Connell Family Funeral Home in Hudson, WI from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. A Mass of Christian burial will be the next day on Wednesday, August 10 at St. Patrick Catholic Church at 11:00 a.m. with another visitation one hour prior to Mass. His service will be livestreamed through St. Pat’s Facebook page for anyone not able to attend in person.  Following Mass the family invites you to join them to celebrate Jerry’s wonderful life at Bella Vinez in River Falls, on Wednesday, August 10 from 1:00-4:00 p.m. 


While we will no longer be greeted with a warm smile or hug, we have had the honor of knowing a great man with a big heart who brought decades of wisdom, leadership, and joy to many through sports and education.  We extend deep gratitude for the excellent care provided by The Deerfield Senior Living and Lakeview Hospice.

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Jerry's Tribute Wall

Tributes (17):

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    • My dad hired Jerry as a 7th grade teacher. And, he was proud of his new hire. I was in Jerry’s first class on his arrival to Elmwood. That year would have been about 1971. In 1971 it was rare to have a young, male teacher. Mr. Cognetta was a breath of fresh air. I remember the class ring he wore, and his passion and kindness in the classroom. And, of course, he took girls softball to another level. Very creative! May he R. I. P.

    • Julie and family,
      Just heard of Jerry’s passing this morning. So sorry for your loss.
      We pray God’s love and the peace of Christ surround you all at this time. Rest in peace, Jerry.
      With sincere sympathy,

      Gary and Rosey Asher

    • We are thinking of all the family and this difficult time.
      Glad that we were able to know him.

    • Sorry for your loss. I have nothing but good thoughts about Jerry. He will be missed but not forgotten.

    • Julie and family, we are so sorry for your loss. Jerry’s smile was a special one.
      Rod and Becky

    • Mr. C is one of the best! Teacher, coach, parent, person. His energy and zest for life was contagious. You couldn’t help but be in a better mood or smile in his presence, and he always had a moment for you.
      Thoughts and prayers to all of his family. I’m positive he is on to the next chapter with the same energy and zest we all remember!

    • Julie and all family members:
      I offer my thoughts, prayers, and comfort giving you strength at this most difficult time.
      He only takes the “Best”! I’ll always keep that Elmwood “home base” in my memories. I want to leave you with this quote from St. Augustine:

      “Faith is believing what you do not see; the reward of faith is to see what you believe”.

    • Our sincere thoughts and prayers are with you all. God called a very special person home.

    • Our deepest sympathy to the entire family. Wishing you all many great memories through this time of loss.

    • Julie and Family –
      Thinking of you at this time of sorrow and knowing that God will bring comfort and peace to your heart in the days ahead.
      Our sincerest sympathy.

    • Julie and family ~ Sending our Sympathy, Thoughts and Prayers to you all. Jerry was a great teacher and friend to many!!

    • If you measure a man by the father & husband he was, Jerry was the best. His loving & caring nature can be seen in his children and the wonderful individuals & parents they grew up to be. Julie was loved & even as Alzheimer’s gradually took away Jerry’s memory she continued to see the kind, loving, gentle man she married. The man may be gone but his legacy will live on in the many individuals he taught, coached, befriended, & loved.

    • Our deepest sympathy to the Cognetta family. Jerry was a wonderful guy in all aspects of his life. Rest In Peace Jerry.

    • Heaven gained a great man! My cousin, Julie and the family will miss you dearly but one thing is for sure; our faith in Christ means it’s not “Goodbye” but “See you later!” My heartfelt sympathy to all. Memories will get you through this. May you feel the comfort of the Holy Spirit and God the Father’s loving arms around you as you grieve each holiday and other special moments that remind you of him. Hugs! Gale

    • Julie and Family – “Wherever a beautiful soul has been, there is a trail of beautiful memories. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.”

    • Julie and family ~
      We are so sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.