Gerald “Jerry” Johnson passed away peacefully in his home in South Lake Tahoe of natural causes on April 29, 2022, just before his 86th birthday. Jerry was born on May 1, 1935, in Glendale, Calif. to Albert and Francis Johnson. He had one younger sister, Cookie.
In 1946, when Jerry was 11-years-old, the family moved to the area that would later become South Lake Tahoe. It was here where he met his childhood sweetheart and the first love of his life, Anne Nelson. Jerry was in the second class to graduate from South Tahoe High School and helped to create the Viking mascot and school song.
Soon after Jerry was out of high school, he was drafted into the Army Corp of Engineers for the Korean War, where he decided that he did not like camping. When he returned home from his tour, he married Anne, and shortly thereafter, he was redrafted during the Berlin Crises.
After his service, Jerry, Anne, and their young son, Allen, moved to Sacramento where he became a warehouse manager at Firestone Tire. After their daughter, Jeri Lyn, was born, the family moved back to South Lake Tahoe where Jerry became the manager of his father-in-law, Linne Nelson’s, hardware store, Nel’s Tahoe Supply, where he worked for 30 years until retiring in 1993.
Jerry had many interests. I have enjoyed playing fast-pitch softball, especially pitching. I have loved to sing and often made up songs while driving. Jerry was very musical and had the lead role in many local musicals and plays, including playing the role of Jacob Marley in the Stateline productions of Scrooge. He sang in the Presbyterian Church Choir, where he could sing baritone, tenor, and bass.
The church was a very important part of his entire life and helped his parents after they began Lake Tahoe Presbyterian Church. He became the longest-serving member of the church.
Jerry also enjoyed nature photography, writing poetry, traveling, and telling jokes. He wrote a book full of photographs from his and Anne’s travels and his poetry, Inspirations, Travels, and Tahoe.
A true pioneer, Jerry was a long-time member of the Lake Tahoe Historical Society and will be featured in their upcoming book, as well as supporting the Tahoe Heritage Foundation. He was also an integral part of the South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce where he served for years as a board member.
Most of all Jerry was a man of integrity. He lived his life with a strong sense of morals. He was a man of his word from him.
In 2001 Anne was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor, he stepped up to take care of her and support her with all of his heart and soul. Anne succumbed to cancer in 2013.
Jerry felt lucky to fall in love a second time with a friend of many years, Jan Hansen. They were constant companions until his passing from him.
Jerry is joining his wife, Anne, on the other side along with his parents and sister. He is survived by; his daughter, Jeri, are Allen, daughter-in-law Nancy, and grandchildren Sam, Mary Jane, and Tia.
There will be a memorial service at the Lake Tahoe Community Presbyterian Church on Saturday, May 14 at 1:00 pm The community is invited to attend and celebrate Jerry’s life. There will be a reception after the service at the church where people will be able to share their favorite Jerry stories.
The church is located at 2733 Lake Tahoe Blvd., South Lake Tahoe. For those unable to attend, the church will carry the service live, visit HERE for details.
In memory, donations can be made to Lake Tahoe Community Presbyterian Church (HERE).