Gerald Arlen Enders 1947-2021
If a neighbor had a nasty septic tank revolt in the middle of the night, Jerry was on it.
His best measure as a man was his love and loyalty to his friends and neighbors and church and family. If help were needed, Jerry would charge to the rescue.
One year he showed up to help with the local “Festival of Nativities” just when many volunteers could not. He worked and repaired and improved props for ten days. That’s just the kind of guy he was, helpful, positive, solution-driven, and happy to serve.
He always supported family through hard times, and would support his wife, Joan, with her grandiose ideas and projects. He built her a studio for her many hobbies and created custom storage and furniture for it. Her favorite photo is of him in the studio looking like a “carpenter god.”
Jerry and Joan married on June 1, 1971 in the Salt Lake Temple and have lived their entire married life in Longview, Washington, parenting, serving, and worshiping with their friends at the local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They enjoyed traveling and making plans for their future.
Jerry was a sage and mentor. He was known to lift people from their horrible situations, encouraging them to celebrate their strengths, and rejoice at their achievements personally and professionally. He often commented that he was now the “old man” to lots of young men learning to work, learning to perfect a craft, and learning how to be better people.
Jerry started his craft as a youngster in southern California. He opened his “bike shop” disassembling bikes and methodically lining up parts in the order that he removed them from the bike, ready to reassemble when fixed. He modified bikes. He often shared the story of the day that a man in a slick car stopped in the road to look over the Frankenstein-ed bike that Jerry created. Jerry insisted that it wasn’t long after that meeting on that road before the cool Sting-Ray bikes with banana seats were being manufactured that looked suspiciously like his.
Jerry and his family lived in the California of the 1950s where fields of orange trees that grew across the road were replaced with housing developments in a blink of an eye. Oranges were gone, but his, Gloria’s and Rich’s Halloween pumpkins were replaced with ample pillowcases to trick or treat throughout the huge neighborhoods.
Gerald Arlen Enders was a true-blue, blonde-haired, blue-eyed Californian boy born in Pomona, California on September 29, 1947. His parents, Mary Eileen Hale and Richard Allen Enders were already parents to a boy, Richard Allen Jr, and an older girl, Mary Ann Enders. The baby sister, Gloria Enders Pederson would come four years later.
Like all true California boys, Jerry loved his hair. He was a regular “Cookie, Cookie, lend me your comb,” as the song goes, guy who perfected his pompadour, greaser, or whatever was popular. Jerry wore his hair styles with attitude. His golden locks, crooked smile, and soulful eyes made the sixth-grade girls swoon.
The Enders lived in many areas of southern California. But the one with stories that would supply a master storyteller was their home in Deseret Hot Springs. Jerry would hop in a car and drive up the long driveway to the bus stop, way before he dreamt of a driver’s license. Sidewinder rattlesnakes were their companions and Gloria still own some of the rattles from sidewinder wars. Jerry learned to speak “coyote” eloquently and still could call to coyotes from our deck. It was so hot…he and Gloria and Rich would jump in the pool, then wrap themselves in sheets to stay cool as they slept at night.
Jerry shared other memories of living in 1950s southern California… of gigantic citrus groves, raising chicken and rabbits, family beach camping trips, riding coin-op animals at grocery stores, sibling shenanigans, and pulling tricks on his father that backfired on him. Jerry was a mischievous scamp and was often disciplined. He had a well-used escape route he used around the yard, but his dad always caught him for the lickin”. Jerry decided that would end. He tenaciously dug a hole and covered it with branches. The next time he misbehaved, and the whipping race was afoot, he ran the normal escape route, with Dick following in hot pursuit right into the hole. Jerry never considered that his dad might be hurt, OR that his dad might be extremely angry about the trap. Oops.
The family moved to Longview, Washington and Jerry attended ninth grade at Monticello Junior High and graduated from Robert A. Long High School with the proud Class of 1966. He attended Lower Columbia College. All that time, he worked installing chain link fencing with his father, a local fencing contractor.
Jerry became a carpenter with the solid work ethic and skill base his father provided. He became a general contractor who built spec and custom homes and specialized in insurance damage repairs. He quipped that a specialist was someone who knew more and more about less and less until they knew nothing at all.
Carpet installers and drywalling contractors loved working in Jerry’s homes. They said that Jerry really understood what “square” and “level” meant. Jerry wanted any project he touched to be done with exactness and quality. He later worked as a lead carpenter for the Kelso School District, from which position he retired. The district benefited from his extensive experience as a contractor. Even during his last week on earth, he counseled young carpenters in their craft.
From his eldest daughter, Margaret Janene Enders Creer:
“While Al Gore can claim he created the internet, I am POSITIVE that Jerry Enders was the OG of the dumb dad jokes. "I'm hungry" was always met with "Hi hungry, I'm Dad." He loved regularly mentioning “There is a guy named ‘Artie’ that wasn't going to choke me.” He loved a good poop joke as much as the average 12-year-old boy. His most recent joke was about the fact that he had joined the bony bottom club (Thanks cancer).
My dad was an exceptional grandpa. He was full of wise Papa tidbits like “Don’t put ice in your cup! You get more pop that way!”
On one visit to his home, he and Ben painted the portrait of a red car on canvas. His version still sits framed in his office today.
He was sure to spend time with each of his 6 grandchildren. He told my sister that the thing he regretted most about going now was not being there for those six as they grow.
He loved what we loved. He was so excited about our new pool, oohed and awed over the landscaping, and couldn't wait to spend time swimming with his grandchildren.
My dad was THE BEST house guest, hands down. He spent most of his visit fixing things. Edging with a special tool, rewiring parts of our electrical, replacing toilet seats and so on. Pre Covid, he refloored Asher's room and replaced the wood under the kitchen sink while I was in Hawaii. Some people watch You Tube videos to learn how to fix things. We called my dad.
My dad is a good friend. In the few days I spent with him last week, I was touched to see those friends (and siblings that are also friends) come to his rescue in so many sweet ways. When he asked his friend Ed, "How are you?" and Ed replied, "I'm finer than frog hair, Jerry," I smiled.
Whether it meant flying in to drive cross country with John and the kids while I flew with a newborn, or helping us get a house ready to sell, my dad always came to the rescue.
Death is a little less scary to me now. I know when my time comes, that my dad will come to my rescue and with a cheerful greeting, say, "Well, hello Janene!”
See you later Dad. I love you."
Jerry and Joan were blessed with two other amazing daughters, Jessica Robyn Enders and Kimberly Joan Enders Martin.
Janene and her husband John Creer are parents to grandchildren, Emma, Benjamin, Asher and Ava. Kimberly and her husband Thaddeus Martin are parents to Genevieve and Lydia. His brother Richard Allen Enders Jr and wife, Becky Enders, and Gloria Enders Pederson and husband, Ritchie Pederson all supported him at the end of his mortal life and are parents to Jerry’s nephews and nieces.
Jerry left this earth, early on the 24th of May 2021 at the hospice care center, with a smile on his face and a tear of recognition on his cheek. Jerry followed his sister, Mary Ann Enders Winslow; parents Richard Allen Enders and Mary Eileen Hale Enders; his maternal grandmother who cared for him, Clara Helen Keith Hale, and a multitude of great friends, to heaven. They are all reuniting and rejoicing together now.
A private family graveside service will be held.
A public memorial will be held at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1721 30th Avenue, Longview, WA, at 7:00 PM Tuesday, June 1, 2021. It will also be shared via Zoom due to mandated 50% capacity rules.
Here are the Zoom means for joining:
Jerry Enders Funeral
*Please click the link below to join the webinar: https://zoom.us/j/94114107871
*Or One tap mobile: US: +12532158782, 94114107871# or +16699006833,,94114107871#
*Or Telephone: Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
US: +1 253 215 8782 or +1 669 900 6833 or +1 346 248 7799 or +1 929 205 6099 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799
*Webinar ID: 941 1410 7871
Flowers may be delivered to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1721 30th Avenue, Longview WA, on Tuesday June 1, 2021, noon to 6:30 PM. Please consider the alternative of a donation to the Longview Hospice Care Center or to the American Cancer Association, in the name of Jerry Enders, to pay it forward for others.
Tuesday, June 1, 2021
Starts at 7:00pm (Pacific time)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Here are the Zoom means for joining: Jerry Enders Funeral *Please click the link below to join the webinar: https://zoom.us/j/94114107871 *Or One tap mobile: US: +12532158782, 94114107871# or +16699006833,,94114107871# *Or Telephone: Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location): US: +1 253 215 8782 or +1 669 900 6833 or +1 346 248 7799 or +1 929 205 6099 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799 *Webinar ID: 941 1410 7871 Flowers may be delivered to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1721 30th Avenue, Longview WA, on Tuesday June 1, 2021, noon to 6:30 PM. Please consider the alternative of a donation to the Longview Hospice Care Center or to the American Cancer Association, in the name of Jerry Enders, to pay it forward for others.