Jerry McDonald, 80, of Jacksonville, Ore., passed away Tuesday February 26, 2013 at OHSU in Portland, Ore. Jerry was born in Grand Rapids, Mich. January 9, 1933. His family moved to Muskegon, Mich. where he grew up. He learned to hunt and fish with his favorite uncle Uncle Hank in Michigan and continued to enjoy the outdoors throughout his life.
When Jerry was 21 years old he moved to California. After trying several different jobs, he decided that the fire department was for him. He worked for the County of Santa Clara Fire Department for three years, then on to the City of San Jose where he stayed for 33 years. He worked as a Captain in the San Jose Fire Department in the downtown area and then in the suburbs.
Jerry was an avid diver of both free diving and Scuba, and loved spearfishing and diving for abalone off the northern California coast. He was a member of the local dive club where he competed in many events, and it was during this time he decided to try commercial salmon fishing. He acquired a 36' Monterey double-ender the Viking which was built in 1939 and fished from Monterey Bay up the coast to Shelter Cove for king salmon. During the off season he went to the mountains to compete on his Enduro motorcycle where he won many trophies in off-road Enduro racing.
After retiring from the fire department, Jerry and his wife Pat traveled to Europe, the South Pacific, Asia, South America, and throughout the U.S. In 2004 they decided to move to southern Oregon where they always spent so much time and loved being there. They found a place in Little Applegate near Jacksonville to settle and never looked back.
Jerry joined the Warren Masonic Lodge #10 in Jacksonville where he was honored with the Hiram Award after only three years for his outstanding work in improving the Lodge. He spent time meeting the local shop owners, working on the Saturday morning breakfasts, working as the Lodge treasurer, and was a Jacksonville Cemetery Commissioner. Later, he was recruited by the Shriners and was a member of the Wrecking Crew.
Jerry never met a stranger; he had a unique quality of being a great listener, always trying to learn more about the people he met and the new adventures he was participating in. He would help anyone in need and everyone he met and, as a result, had friends all over the world. He truly cared about others and in turn they cared about him. He loved fishing, camping, hunting, working on his property, cutting wood, driving his John Deere tractor, and hanging out with his best friend, Elden.
Jerry is survived by his wife Patricia; daughter Gigi Smith of Morgan Hill, Calif.; step-son Steve Gage of Coquille, Ore.; his brother Clair McDonald of Mesa, Ariz.; grandsons, Ryan Smith and Chris Buchanan of San Jose, Calif.; brother Terry McDonald of Syracuse, Ind.; niece Tammy McKamey of South Bend, Ind.; and nephew Tracey McDonald of Elkhart, Ind. He was preceded in death by his daughter Karen Buchanan.
There will be a gathering of family and friends later this spring. Jerry, you will be missed more than you could have ever imagined. I love you, Patty.