Gerald Cecil Lair, age 92, beloved husband, father and friend, passed away peacefully on Tuesday evening, May 29, 2018, at Queen of the Valley Hospital with his family by his side. Jerry was born on Saturday, January 23, 1926, in Montgomery County, Iowa, the second son of Willie and Hester (Mason) Lair.
Times were tough, and when Jerry was 3 years old the family returned to West Plains, Missouri, where he spent the remainder of his childhood living on the family farm. Soon after completing the 8th grade he left school and hitch-hiked with his cousin to Vallejo, California, hoping to find work in the shipyards. Rejected because of his young age (being only 16), he found work as a truck driver for Safeway.
Two months after his 18th birthday, Jerry was drafted into the U. S. Army on April 6, 1944, serving with the 13th Armored Infantry Division in Germany during World War II. He was honorably discharged on April 22, 1946. Jerry worked for People’s Ice and Fuel in Vallejo for over 50 years, retiring in 2001 at the age of 75.
He married his second wife, Beverly Shillings, on October 7, 1956, in Vallejo, where they remained until they built their new home in Napa in 1973.
Jerry liked to be busy and enjoyed making things with his hands—whether it was re-building a lawnmower, tending to his vegetable garden, adding to his collection of broken and rusty tools, or creating furniture from natural de-barked tree limbs taken from his own property. Jerry was an avid walker and liked to feed carrots to the horses in the neighborhood. He enjoyed collecting western and Indian memorabilia, and watching re-runs of classic western movies.
Jerry is survived by Beverly, his loving wife of 62 years, their daughter, Debbie Lair, and son-in-law, Michael Sambrotto and his daughter, Angelina; his sister, Jo (Jack) McCann and half-brother, Jim Lair. He also leaves behind his son, Jerry Lee Lair Crites, a granddaughter and 3 great grandchildren.
Jerry was predeceased by his parents and older brother, Marvin Lair.
Visitation is at 9:00 a.m., followed by a service to honor his life at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 7, at Tulocay Cemetery, 411 Coombsville Road, Napa. Reception will follow at Compadres Rio Grille, 505 Lincoln Avenue.