George "Jerry" L. Gucker, lifelong Alaskan and retired Alaska District Court judge and U.S. District Court magistrate, died at his daughter Rena's home March 16, 2014, after a long fought battle with leukemia. He was 84.
A funeral Mass was held March 21 at St. Benedict's Catholic Church in Anchorage. A celebration of life will be held in Ketchikan this summer; date to be announced. George's wife, Theresa Gucker, will take his cremated remains to Healy Lake.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Salvation Army or St. Therese's retreat and youth camp in Wasilla, at www.stthereseak.com.
Jerry was born Nov. 13, 1929, in Juneau.
His father was a traveling salesman who arrived in Alaska by steamship, and his mother was the head nurse at the Sand Point Naval Air Base in Seattle during WWI.
He was raised in Juneau and also lived in Fairbanks. He spent most of his adult life in Ketchikan, Meyers Chuck and Healy Lake.
Jerry is survived by his wife of 53 years, Theresa Herda Gucker, of Meyer's Chuck; his brother, Jack Grucker (Jeanne), of Juneau; and nephew, John. He also is survived by his children: son, Eric Gucker, of Ketchikan, and grandchildren, Gabriel and Sarah; daughter, Renna Brinker (Hank), of Anchorage, and grandchildren, Quaid, Tucker and Maxwell; son, Kurt Gucker, of Kechikan; daughter, Anna LaRouche (Dennis), of Kenai, and grandson, Christopher and great-grandson, Clark; daughter, Gina Gucker, of Fairbanks; and son, Nicholas Gucker (Denise), of Seattle, as well as a multitude of relatives from Theresa's homeland of Minnesota.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Jack Gucker and Lorena Bergevin; and grandchildren, Caleb Gucker and Isabella LaRouche.
Jerry graduated from Juneau High School, traveled throughout Europe for a year and served in the U.S. Army in Delta Junction, teaching climbing, skiing and outdoor survival. He attended Gonzaga University School of Law in Washington, Montana State University, and graduated in 1959 from DePaul University College of Law in Chicago with a juris doctor degree in law.
He worked as a law clerk in Anchorage, where he met Theresa Herda. They were married at the Shrine of St. Theresa near Juneau where Jerry had served Mass for Bishop Crimont as an altar boy. They moved to Anchorage, where Jerry practiced as an attorney and later moved to Ketchikan. While practicing law in Ketchikan, he also chartered his boat, the "MyTime."
In 1982, Gov. William Sheffield appointed him to the bench as District Court judge in Ketchikan, where he also served as a U.S. District Court magistrate.
Jerry was a lifelong Catholic and a member of the Knights of Columbus, and volunteered countless hours to the Catholic Church. He served as president of the Bar Association's annual parties, received service awards from the Chamber of Commerce and several trophies during his younger years as a downhill ski racer.
Jerry lived the Alaska lifestyle and loved hunting, fishing, boating, flying, family and discussing the law. He taught his children to duck hunt at the family cabin on the Stikine Flats near Wrangell, and how to fish and hunt deer and bear from the "MyTime." He especially loved spending time with his beloved wife, Theresa. They went on countless adventures, from hunting ducks in Mexico on their honeymoon; goat hunting in Hawaii; and continuing throughout Alaska with ocean fishing, moose and deer hunting, and spending months each year at their beloved duck hunting cabin at Healy Lake in the Interior. During the course of their 53 years of marriage, Jerry still introduced and referred to Theresa as "my bride."
Jerry will be remembered as a loving husband, wonderful father, good cook, great hunter and lover of boating. He was happiest sharing his love of Alaska with his family. He lived life fully and inspired those around him to do the same. He had a very spirited nature and would frequently exclaim, "I'm living!"
He had a natural way of drawing people to him in public and private and everyone loved to hear his stories. A daily communicant, he had a deep sense of spirituality, of justice and the courage of his convictions. He had a special devotion to the sacred heart and to the holy rosary. He told his family he had done everything in life he ever wanted to do.