Jerry Gaines passed away the morning of Jan. 14, 2021, in Livermore, where he had lived since 1964.
He was born in Whittier, California, to John and Josephine Gaines, and his siblings were older brother. Bill, and younger brother, Jim. His family moved to Fallon, Nevada, before Jerry started the fifth grade, and Jerry remained there until college. During his senior year of high school, he met Joyce, whom he married two years later. They celebrated their 63rd anniversary in the fall of 2020.
Jerry completed his higher education in Reno, Nevada, graduating in 1961 from the University of Nevada with a master’s degree in physics, where he also completed his ROTC courses. Upon graduation, he served his two years of active duty with the Army at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. He continued to serve his country as a member of the U.S. Army Reserve for another 29 years, completing his service as a lieutenant colonel in 1995.
After his active duty, he started his career as a nuclear physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 1963 and continued until his retirement in 1993. He loved his work in the testing division and in the course of it, he made many trips to the Nevada test site. He was credited with a number of patents for LLNL during his tenure. During his Army Reserve active duty assignments, he worked at the Army laboratories on the East Coast and later was assigned to the Pentagon.
As a young boy, he grew up loving the outdoors, fishing, camping, hunting, and shooting his guns. He spent many years hunting deer and elk with his family and friends. After moving to Livermore, he joined the Livermore and Pleasanton Rod and Gun Club. During his time as president, he implemented many improvements to the club. After his presidency ended, he continued weekly trap and skeet, shooting with his friends for many years. Jerry was also an avid tennis enthusiast and could be found on the local courts during lunch or in the evening playing doubles with his friends.
Over the years, Jerry and Joyce traveled extensively in Europe, Asia, South America, and Australia. But one of his favorite vacation spots was back in the states, at Lake Tahoe, where he would meet with his brother’s families for yearly summer reunions. Jerry loved boating and enjoyed taking his family out for early morning skiing or tubing and breakfast on the lake.
As his children were growing up, he always found a way to be involved with their activities, either taking the Camp Fire girls camping and helping close up the regional campground for the season or showing support at swim meets, gymnastic competitions and track meets.
His faith and involvement in church was very important to him. He and his family were members of Our Savior Lutheran Church for many years. Over those years, he held many positions in the church, from president, to elder, Bible study leader and youth counselor. He was also involved with the Young Life ministry.
During the summers, he would often take the church youth group on backpacking trips to the mountains or water skiing and tubing at the lakes. Jerry enjoyed playing basketball and softball in the church leagues as well.
In recent years, Cornerstone was his church home, where he was a leader of a Senior’s Community Group.
He leaves behind his wife, Joyce; his daughters, Lorrie Wallace (Walt), of Ft. Collins, Colorado, and Kristine Dean of Geneva, Switzerland; son, Michael of Livermore; five grandchildren, Ryan Dean of Dublin, California, Evan Dean and Stephan Dean of Geneva, Switzerland, Brooke Poertner (Matt) of Grass Valley, California, and their son Grayson, and Chris Wallace (Katie) of Escondido, California.
One of Jerry’s favorite charities was the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. In lieu of flowers, you may donate in Jerry’s name at billygraham.org or 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, NC, 28217, or any charity of your choosing. Interment service will be in Livermore at Memory Gardens on Feb. 1.