Robert “Bob” Gerry, 80, died on April 15, 2009, at his home in Baker City.
His memorial service will be at noon Saturday at the Durkee Cemetery. There will be a reception for family and friends at 1 p.m. at the Durkee Grange.
Affectionately known as “Uncle Bobby” by so many of his relatives, Bob Gerry was born on May 18, 1928, at Baker City to Clifford R. Gerry and Mary E. Sheehan. He was the youngest of many siblings and was the ninth child born to Mary Sheehan Gerry.
During his younger years he attended school in the towns of Durkee, Joseph, Haines and Baker. He was active in sports, participating on the track team and playing forward for the Haines High School basketball team. One year, he played on the team that won the B2 league championship. Bob later lettered for his basketball participation.
He also lettered at Joseph High School for both football and basketball. Bob finished his high school basketball career at Baker High School. In 1945 the Bulldogs went undefeated and won the Oregon State District 1 and 2 championships. That year Bob ran for vice president of his class.
By the time Bob was in high school both of his parents had died, but he pressed forward, graduating from high school and attending Eastern Oregon College where he continued to play basketball.
Bob joined the U.S. Navy and served his country from 1948 to 1951, during the Korean Conflict. Bob moved to Californian and received a master’s degree in education from California State University at San Jose.
He completed a 20-year career as an educator in Redwood City, Calif., including several roles as vice principal. During the 1960s he was married twice producing two children.
He was subsequently divorced from both women. His daughter, Christine Lucci, is married to Jim Lucci and they have two young children, Max and Jim Jr. His son, Robert, is married to Elizabeth Rodgers. They have two young sons, Steven Mohr Gerry and Michael Rodgers Gerry.
From 1967 to 1987 Bob lived at Redwood City. Robert grew up with him being in the same town and spent about half of his younger years at Bob’s residence. Between the ages of 8 and 15, Robert spent every weekend with his father during the school year, in order to attend local sporting events.
In 1977, at the age of 8, Robert and Bob spent a summer at Durkee. Bob lived in Redwood City until the day after Robert graduated from Woodside High School in 1987.
In 1987 Bob moved back to Durkee to live in a tiny one bedroom home. The home had a wood-burning stove and some running water, but luxurious, it was not. Bob would spend his retirement years writing political satire, reading books and watching sporting events on TV.
He would write his children often, filling envelopes with humorous captions and local Oregon news stories. His sense of humor was contagious and no doubt his most memorable attribute, family members said.
Bob would always mail out the football pool and NCAA basketball tournament bracket, so that everyone could follow along with him as he enjoyed the athletic competitions and cheering for the underdog. He was a die-hard 49ers fan.
Bob would spend another decade living in an apartment in Baker until 2007. He was very well taken care of by his Oregon relatives. In 1997 and 2002 Bob traveled to see his son and grandsons in Redwood City and in Monterey, Calif.
It was a great opportunity for him to spend time with his young grandsons. In 2006, during an extended RV trip, his son, Robert, brought his entire family to visit him in Baker City.
Christine was very actively engaged in Bob’s life at the very critical juncture of his move to assisted living. His final year was spent in an assisted living home, also in Baker, where he was very well taken care of.
Bob was a man with a giant heart, especially for children. It was no accident that he ended up in primary education. He was the guy who made the giant 8 foot tall pumpkin at Halloween, put a huge Christmas Tree on the roof, hid hundreds of Easter Eggs around the neighborhood, painted his car green for St. Patrick’s Day and any other prank, all in the name of bringing a little laughter, a little joy to someone else’s life. He will be missed but not forgotten, family members said.
Survivors include his daughter, son and four grandchildren, Christine Gerry Lucci, and her two sons, Robert Mohr Gerry, and his two sons.
Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel is in charge of arrangements.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, July 10, 2009
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor