Jerome Stanley Nerman, a collector and patron of the arts, died Tuesday. He was 97.
Nerman was co-founder of Arrow Truck Sales, a used tractor-trailer dealership.
His passion was collecting contemporary art. Jerry and Margaret Nerman even opened their home for tours of works by artists such as Andy Warhol, Frank Stella and Jasper Johns.
“It’s fun, it’s exciting,” Jerry Nerman said of art collecting in a 2002 story in The Kansas City Star. “Some people collect homes, boats or airplanes. We collect art.”
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It began with a small painting of the Champs-Elysees in Paris that Nerman acquired when he served in France in World War II.
In 2003 Jerry and Margaret Nerman and their son, Lewis Nerman, contributed $1.5 million toward the creation of an art museum at Johnson County Community College. The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art opened on campus in 2007.
“Jerry Nerman was one of those rare ‘larger than life’ people who leave an enormous void when they depart,” said Nerman Museum executive director Bruce Hartman in a statement. “I will always cherish his great humor, goodwill, and generous nature. His passion for art was an inspiration to all. I feel blessed to have known him almost three decades ... as a collector and patron, but most importantly, as a friend.”
Hartman added, “Jerry’s greatest passion, after his family and business, was collecting art. He amassed an extraordinary collection of contemporary art by embracing the new — the challenging and unfamiliar. He was a visionary.”
Nerman was also a trustee of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and a member of the collection committee of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
Jerry and Margaret Nerman were married 75 years.
The funeral will be 12:30 p.m. Friday at Kehilath Israel Synagogue, 10501 Conser St., Overland Park.