Raised in South San Francisco, Jerry was the second oldest of seven children, one of six sons. He enjoyed the Boy Scouts, fishing, and exploring San Bruno Mountain as a kid. Once, being mischievous along with his brothers, they decided to load Dad’s car with a bunch of ducks and bring them home. A drive with my dad through Arizona on the way to Texas turned explosive when they placed firecrackers in the ashtray before Dad put out his cigarette!
After graduating from El Camino High School, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1968 and was off to Camp Pendleton readying for service in Da Nang, Vietnam. He earned several medals and badges and fell in love with many of the country’s citizens. Upon his return to the U.S., he earned an associate degree in criminology at College of San Mateo and became a youth mentor with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America. One of my earliest memories of Jerry was how many college girlfriends he brought home to meet Mom.
Jerry eventually settled down and became a father to his two beautiful children, Matthew and Heather. He enjoyed coaching kids sports and attending games. Insistent upon not just doing girly things with his daughter, he took her hiking on San Bruno Mountain, climbing to the top and painting the “Peace Sign” rock. There was no greater love than the one he had for his children, grandchildren Eli, Alexandros, Presley, Holly and Hank, and his yellow lab, Otis. He was elated to be called “Poppa.” His children’s success gave him true peace and happiness.
Jerry was very proud of his landscaping business in Pacifica, Matthew’s Landscaping. I reminded him his body ended up like a retired football player due to how hard he worked. He could be cantankerous but was fiercely loyal and extremely giving, donating to charities for the poor and to those struggling with illness. He did so all the way up until a few days before his departure.
Having a true gift of the gab, while driving back to Pacifica after visiting a friend in Nebraska, he sparked a conversation with an art dealer he met in Gallup, New
Mexico. This friendship would lead to Jerry’s final landscaping job, the installation of a 65-foot waterfall, a continuation of his love for American Indian art/history, and a vacation to Alaska with his daughter.
After many years in Pacifica and a short time in Lake Merritt, he relocated to the Sierra Foothills near his sister. There, Jerry met and developed special friendships with tens of Gen Xers who quickly adopted him, bringing him into their fold and pampering him with tons of love and attention.
Jerry is traveling on the Rainbow Bridge with his lab, Otis, and they’re on their way to heaven to be with our parents, Glen and Gloria, and his brothers, Tom, Robert, and Mark. Like a flash, you were gone, but you are now free of pain. Farewell, my brother. Smile.