Jerry was called home by his Lord and Savior on January 10, 2020, after a two month illness complicated by multiple myeloma. He was born in Spartanburg So. Carolina (his father was in the military) to Roberta and Clair Ernst. After WW2 the family moved to Seattle where Clair was employed by The Boeing Co. for 40 years.
Jerry graduated from the University of Washington in 1965 with a Bachelor of Architecture and a Masters of Urban Planning in 1967. He became a registered Architect and Certified Planner. He was nominated by his peers to become a fellow in both disciplines. He received his AIA medal in Washington DC at the Jefferson memorial. Most of his professional career was spent at TRA where his tenure as Partner and Planning Director expanded to include professionals offering services in urban planning, urban design, landscape architecture and environmental analysis. Projects completed under his direction received nineteen awards for excellence from the American Institute of Architects, the American Society of Landscape Architects and the American Planning Association. For 14-years he participated with other US architects through the national AIA Regional/Urban Design Assistance Team program (R/UDAT) where he provided urban design guidance to communities across North America. During his career, Jerry served as chair of the national AIA Regional/Urban Design committee.
He was president of the Seattle AIA chapter in 1986. At TRA he directed a variety of projects including recreational facilities, environmental impact statements, land use studies and airport planning work. He was in charge of neighborhood and business district studies in Seattle, Tacoma and Bellevue. Under his direction, TRA developed recreational and master plans for three Washington state reservoirs in Chelan and Douglas counties, designing three of the parks and the River walk in Chelan. He also managed the architectural work for the Regional Justice Center in Kent where upon completion the entire team spent a night in jail to try out their work.
His professional interests carried over to giving back to his community by serving on the Board of Governors for the Ryther Child Center, Woodland Park Zoological Society, Washington Athletic Club and was a member of Rotary International/Seattle and DSA Downtown Seattle Association. He served as an Elder on Session for 33 years at West Side Presbyterian Church overseeing several remodels of the building. After retirement, he was elected to the board of his condominium association, Kanaloa at Kona near Keauhou Bay in Hawaii.
He and his wife, Christi enjoyed traveling and visited several of the world sites and cities he had studied during his University years. Since he was an Urban Design professional, his idea of understanding a city was to walk through them and get a feel for the place and its people.
He was an avid basketball player and enjoyed the camaraderie and competition at the Washington Athletic Club, where he made many lifelong friends. One of his teams participated in the World Masters Games in Australia where they won a gold medal. He played ball until he was 60 and his knees gave out. To continue the friendships, the team organized a book club so that they could re-live their basketball prowess, sometimes discuss a book and have dinner.
He was a devoted father to his son and his son’s friends; and loved playing backyard basketball with all of them. He was a kid at heart. He was a sand sculptor on the Orbital Sanders team for 30-years; winning many competitions along the West coast. He loved to boogie board with his grandsons at Hapuna Beach and snorkel at Kealakekua Bay in Captain Cook Hawaii. He was a tease; remembered and told jokes and did a wonderful interpretation of Rumple Stillskin. He built beautiful furniture for his wife, Christi. He was a renaissance man of many talents. He leaves a big hole in our hearts – He will be missed. Until we meet again!!
He is survived by his wife Christi, son Jeffrey (wife Marit) two grandsons Jason and Joshua, his brother Bruce (Pat) and nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held Friday, February 28th at 1pm at West Side Presbyterian Church, 3601 California Ave. S.W. Seattle, WA. 98116; followed by a reception.
In lieu of flowers, you may donate to West Side Presbyterian Church, noting Memorial/Building fund or UW School of Architecture, Scholarship Fund.
Share memories of Jerry by visiting his Tribute Wall, located above.
Arrangements Entrusted to Emmick Family Funeral Home of West Seattle
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