Jerry V. Gilbert slipped away from this world at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital on the evening of March 11, 2008. He was 60 years old.
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Born in Homeland, Calif., on Nov. 16, 1947, Jerry studied mechanical engineering at Riverside City College and the University of Southern California and earned an M.S. degree in electrical engineering at Stanford University.
He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1970 to 1974, working with the Defense Intelligence Agency on aircraft armament systems and as a Space System analyst developing technologies to monitor earth orbiting satellites.
He made his career in Idaho Falls, working first as an instructor at the University of Idaho's electrical engineering extension office and then, until his retirement, at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL).
Jerry developed safety and data security systems for the laboratory's nuclear test reactor. He was the lead engineer on data network designs for the Air Force's Pacific radar systems and Air Support Operations Center and the lead engineer for computer data systems to monitor and track transuranic nuclear wastes generated at INEEL. He was an expert on microprocessor-based data acquisition systems.
Jerry was an avid Nordic skier, competing at regional races across the Rocky Mountain West. He twice attended World Masters competitions, in Italy in 1997 and Switzerland in 1999. He served as a volunteer worker at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games at the Nordic ski venue in Soldier Hollow, Utah. He was very supportive of cross-country and biathlon ski programs in Idaho Falls, in West Yellowstone and here in Bozeman. He was also an active rock climber and enjoyed river rafting adventures in Idaho and Montana. He was a part-owner of Solitude Sports in Idaho Falls for many years in the 1980s and 1990s, a retail store that specialized in gear for skiing, cycling and rock climbing.
In his last three years, Jerry devoted his energies to a stoic fight against the lymphoma that relentlessly sapped his vitality. Having withstood more than eight years of radiation and chemotherapy, he traveled to Seattle in 2005 to undergo a difficult stem-cell transplant procedure at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute. Complicating after-effects from the treatment left him confined to a wheelchair with severe muscle atrophy. He put up a valiant fight to the end
Jerry is survived by his mother, Mrs. Helen Gilbert; his sister, Mrs. Rosemary Barbetta; his nephew, John Gilbert, Jr.; and his ex-wife, Gay Gilbert.
He was preceded in death by his brother, John Gilbert, and his adoptive father, Mr. Robert Gilbert.
An informal memorial service in celebration of Jerry's life will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, March 21, at the Beall Park Recreation Center, 415 N. Bozeman Ave. It will be a pot-luck event; attendees are asked to bring a dish and a story or fond memory to share with Jerry's family and friends.
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Mar. 16, 2008