Gerald L. Smith
Aug. 3, 1923-May 7, 2013
Palo Alto, California
Submitted by Gary R Smith
Gerald Lloyd Smith, known to friends and family as Jerry, passed away on May 7, 2013 in Palo Alto at his long-term residence Channing House.
Jerry was born on Aug. 3, 1923 in Madison, Wisconsin. His father was Harvey McKinley Smith, and his mother was Marjory Byrd Case. Jerry graduated from Morgan Park High School in Chicago in 1941 as valedictorian, received undergraduate education at Oberlin College in Ohio and the University of California at Berkeley, and a Master’s from Stanford University.
Jerry worked for more than 28 years as an Aerospace Research Scientist at the Ames Research Center of NASA in Mountain View, CA, retiring in 1977.
All who knew Jerry well were impressed by the breadth of his post-retirement interests and by his energetic pursuit of them.
Jerry played Duplicate Bridge at least weekly for decades, achieving Life Master status with the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL). For many years he edited a monthly newsletter for the Palo Alto unit of the ACBL. He was also an excellent bridge instructor.
Jerry developed considerable skill as a genealogical researcher. He greatly extended his family’s knowledge of its roots, building a database of thousands of his ancestors, descendants, and relatives by marriage. He brilliantly brought the data to life with narratives about selected ancestors.
Jerry also loved to travel. He took long car trips with his wife and children, visiting relatives, national parks, and state capitals throughout the USA. Later he combined his travel and genealogical interests by arranging visits with distant cousins he had identified. Jerry and his wife traveled abroad and went on cruises, sometimes with members of his extended family.
Another passion was opera, which Jerry enjoyed in the audience of the San Francisco Opera and of other groups. He collected recordings and librettos and studied operas he planned to see.
Jerry was married for more than 60 years to Gracia Jeane Himebauch Smith, who predeceased him in 2007. His final years were difficult as he lost his mental skills and had to cope without Gracia’s support.
Jerry is survived by his children Gary Richard Smith of Pleasanton, California and Jill Joanne Lemke of Addison, Texas and their respective spouses Margaret Fluck Smith and Raymond Robert Lemke. He is also survived by his grandchildren (and their spouses) Brian Kendall Smith (Lena Soo Hee Wood) of Portland, Oregon, Brett Anthony Lemke (Ilana Delaney Lemke) of Carrollton, Texas, and Brandon Ray Lemke of San Diego, California, by his brother Stanley Galen Smith (Rose Brondz Smith) of Madison, Wisconsin, and by great grandchildren Ryland Joseph Lemke and Vivian Claire Lemke. Jerry was predeceased by his parents, his wife, and his brother Merlin Edward Smith.
A memorial service is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 1 in the auditorium of Channing House, 850 Webster St, Palo Alto.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations to Pathways Home Health & Hospice at 585 North Mary Avenue, Sunnyvale, CA 94085 or to Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, 34 Washington St, Suite 200, Wellesley Hills, MA 02481.