Jerry’s formal education started in the second grade at Salmon Creek School. After the school was destroyed in a flood, he attended Oakdale School, built by the community and located up Salmon Creek.
Following his graduation from South Fork Union High School in 1934, Jerry attended Stanford University, earning a Ph.D. in chemistry. He joined 76 Union Oil Company in 1940 and retired after 44 years of service as a senior research chemist. He was a member of Phi Lambda Epsilon and Alpha Chi Sigma, Emeritus member of Sigma Xi, and a 50-year member of American Chemical Society.
It was at Stanford that Jerry met Mary Elizabeth “Betty” Smith, and they were married on April 13, 1940. Together they raised five children, moving to Santa Ana in 1950.
After 45 years of an extraordinary life together, Betty passed away in 1985. In 1990, Jerry met Marian Taylor, with whom he spent 23 wonderful years, until the very moment of his passing. Together they moved their home to Eugene, Ore., and explored, traveled, gardened and enjoyed a full life together.
Jerry’s enthusiasm and interests were broad and far reaching. He was more than conversant within a wide range of subjects, including geology, mineralogy, botany and Native American history. During his years in Santa Ana he provided extensive service as a volunteer with the Boy Scouts as a troop leader and merit badge counselor. He received the Silver Beaver Award and was given the Vigil Honor in the Order of the Arrow
Jerry was an active member of the First Congregational Church and gave 15 years as a volunteer at Bowers Museum, safeguarding exhibits from earthquake damage.
Jerry traveled extensively within the western United States and visited Alaska, Hawaii, and a number of foreign countries. He had a passion for good conversation, innovative ideas and the great outdoors. He embraced the old fashioned work ethic, being meticulous and thorough in whatever task he undertook. Jerry was truly a Renaissance man who left his world a greater place. Curiosity and discovery are legacies left to so many of his students. He will truly be missed by family and friends.
Jerry is survived by his wife, Marian Taylor; sister-in-law, Helen Aurelia Smith; daughter, Carolie E. Martin; sons, Gerould H. Smith Jr. (Mary Ann), David K. Smith (Mary), Charles W. Smith, and Roger W. Smith; eight grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; nephews, Harry Vaughn (Jan), M. Locke Ettinger (Carol Sue), and niece Robin R. Larson (Larry).