Gerald “Jerry” Pomponio passed away at the age of 78 on Wednesday, August 25th, 2021, in Portola, California.
Jerry was born on August 25, 1944, in Redding, CA, as the son of Melvin and Millie Margarette. At an early age, the family moved to Sacramento. Even as a child, Jerry was an avid fisherman. His sister remembers a time where the family was waiting for a bus to return Jerry from a summer Boy Scout camp. After the last child got off the bus with no sign of Jerry, his parents questioned the bus driver. Jerry’s parents were informed that their son had told everyone at camp that his parents would be picking him up and he didn’t need a bus ride. The family loaded up the car and went to the camp to search for Jerry, only to discover that he had stayed behind to do some additional fishing at the camp.
Jerry’s father was a Deputy State Forester with the California Department of Forestry and helped Jerry obtain seasonal work early in his professional life. When Jerry received his first work boots, he asked his sister to help scuff them up and put some dirt on them so he would not look so new to the job. His forestry experience also included a stint as a fire lookout observer on the Carmel Forestry Unit for a time.
After graduating from Encina High School in 1962, Jerry enlisted in the Navy working as a dental hygienist. He saw some action in Vietnam and was stationed in Iceland around 1968. Since he was located so close to Europe at the time, he managed to obtain some leave from the Navy and meet up with a few friends just in time to observe some of the Winter Olympic events in Grenoble, France, that year.
When Jerry finished his time with the Navy, he was honorably discharged from the East Coast. He obtained a car, drove across the country and landed at Pineland, near Tahoe City. An avid and skilled skier, he found work as an instructor for Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. To earn extra spending money, he also worked as a sous chef on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe. The lake provided the ideal location for Jerry’s passions of skiing, golf, hunting, fishing and baseball.
It was at Tahoe that Jerry met the one and only love of his life, Kay Peterson. After the couple married, they settled in Truckee and started their family with the birth of their daughter Karli. With a new family to support, Jerry started his own painting business for commercial and residential properties.
Jerry’s life was one well-lived and he will be missed. He was a caring, loving soul, loyal husband and no one was ever a stranger to Jerry. It was customary for him to walk right up to total strangers in a restaurant or the Bar of America, sit down and strike up a conversation with them. Jerry is survived by his daughter, Karli Pomponio of Truckee and his sister, Cindy Hood of San Diego. The family is planning a private cremation service at this time and a public Celebration of Jerry’s life later in the spring after fishing season opens. Jerry would have liked that.