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Gearldeane "Jerri" Eyrich

World traveler, Tournament of Roses Queen finalist, beloved wife

Geraldeane (Jerri) Eyrich died March 19 at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center surrounded by her immediate family, after sustaining a head injury during a fall a week earlier. She was 87.

Jerri was born in El Paso, Texas on July 20, 1932 to Kendall and Deane Metcalf. She was joined by her brother KJ in 1934. 

Her family moved several times as she was growing up, which instilled in her a love of travel and adventure.

After attending Pasadena City College, where she was a semi-finalist for the Tournament of Roses Queen, she joined the engineering department at Aerojet-General in Monrovia.

Prior to her marriage, in an era when women typically did not travel by themselves, she ventured to both Hawaii and western Europe, where she and a girlfriend put over 10,000 miles on a Volkswagen bug.

A coworker at Aerojet set her up on a blind date, which led to a five year romance with Jerry Eyrich. During the summers of their courtship she and Mr. Eyrich would typically travel to Bishop Creek, California with her parents, where she would demonstrate her angling skills by catching the most fish. Their romance grew into their marriage on June 6, 1959.

They added three children to their family: Gregory in 1961, Jeffrey in 1963 and Katherine in 1965.

The Eyrichs loved to travel, with summer trips, at first in a tent, and later in their RV, across the western US and frequently to the Bishop Creek area, a family favorite for generations. She was renowned for her ability to feed, soothe, heal, entertain and herd her young family through all of these adventures.

Ms. Eyrich was a supportive and loving mother, a great cook, and thrived on having her house full of family for birthdays and holidays. She loved word puzzles and was a voracious reader. She was also known to appreciate a good bloody mary on weekend mornings.

While maintaining her household she also found time to work for the family business and support her husband as he pursued both a full time career and three graduate degrees. 

She loved caring for her roses, making sure the local hummingbirds were well fed, and contributing to virtually every good cause that came calling. She was a surrogate mother to all in need, always had a smile on her face, offered a kind word to everyone, and carried love in her heart.

As her grandchildren grew, she and Mr. Eyrich traveled the world with them, filling all their lives with love and adventure, and nurturing a thirst in them to explore the world. Their travels went from Alaska to Europe to Africa, often by ferry or seaplane or small boat. No journey was too challenging nor any destination too far.

Her love of family, travel and adventure was displayed on a plaque in her family room which read, “The Most Important Things In Life, Are Not Things.”

Ms. Eyrich is survived by her husband of 61 years, Jerry; brother KJ Metcalf, and his wife Peggy; sons Greg and Jeff, and his soulmate Lizzie Tagg; daughter Katherine Deane Jackson, and her husband Dale Jackson; daughter-in-law Linda Eyrich; grandson Carter Eyrich; granddaughter Lauren Eyrich, and her fiancé Dannyel Nelson; granddaughters Siena Eyrich, Lindsey Jackson, Sydney Jackson and Mackenzie Deane Jackson Acker, and her husband Jonathan Acker; and great granddaughter Adalyn Deane Acker, the fifth generation to have the name Deane.

The family will have a private celebration of her life after the coronavirus pandemic has been contained.

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