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Gerald Kaffer

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Gerald Kaffer Obituary
CDR, U.S. Navy (Ret)

Commander Gerald H. Kaffer, Jr, U.S. Navy (retired) passed away April 14, 2017 in Salt Lake City at the age of 93. He was a veteran of World War II, Korea and the Cold War including the Vietnam Era.
Jerry was the son of Gerald H. Kaffer, Sr. and Catherine Cecelia Frawley. He attended elementary and high schools in Denver. He participated in elementary and high school football and was an active member of the Sea Scouts of America. In May 1942, upon graduation from high school, he received an appointment to the newly established United States Merchant Marine Academy, King's Point, New York and was assigned to basic training at Treasure Island, California.
From August 1942 to April 1943, as a Midshipman U.S. Naval reserve, he was assigned to an American cargo ship that carried military equipment and ammunition in support of the U.S. military operations at Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands. During this period the ship was engaged in direct enemy action. After returning to the United States in April 1943 he reported to the United States Merchant Marine Academy, King's point, New York to complete the academic program.
During 1944 he was commissioned a Navy Ensign at the age of 19 and was assigned to a U.S. Navy troopship. He performed duties of Assistant Communication Officer and Assistant Navigator on that ship for the remainder of World War II. During this assignment the ship participated in military operations in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Ocean areas. At the conclusion of World War II his ship participated in the occupation of Wakayama and Nagoya Japan and later evacuated military and civilians from Shanghai and Tsingtao China. During March 1948 he married the beautiful Dorothy Ann Fisher in Denver, Colorado.
During the Korean War, as a Lieutenant Senior Grade, he served on an attack cargo ship as the Communication Officer and then on an escort aircraft carrier as the Navigator. During the period 1955 to 1973, he was assigned as Operations Officer on the U.S. Navy Destroyer USS Ammen, as Executive Officer (Lieutenant Commander) on the U.S. Navy Destroyer USS C.P. Cecil and from July 1963 to July 1965 as the Commanding Officer of the U.S. Navy Destroyer USS McCaffery with the rank of Commander.
His shore duty assignments include Staff, U.S. Naval Reserve Intelligence Unit, Buckley Naval Air Station, Aurora, Colorado; Assistant to the Commander, U.S. Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, Illinois; Academic Officer and Instructor, U.S. Naval Destroyer School, Newport, Rhode Island; Faculty member U.S. Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island; Executive Officer and Associate Professor, Department of Naval Science, University of Utah.
On July 1, 1973 Jerry retired after serving 31 years in the Navy. He was the recipient of thirteen military decorations.
After his retirement from the Navy, Jerry worked as the Chief, Disaster Response and Recovery Section, Division of Comprehensive Emergency Management, Utah department of Public Safety. During the 1983/84 Utah statewide flood response and recovery operations he served as the Governor's Authorized Representative coordinating Federal, state and local government disaster recovery operations. He was awarded Certificates of Appreciation for his service to the citizens of the State of Utah by Governor Matheson and Governor Bangerter.
When he finished his State government work he became actively involved in working with numerous Utah veterans organizations in obtaining Utah Legislature approval for the successful construction and operation of the Veterans Memorial Park and Cemetery and the Veterans Nursing Home both in the Salt Lake City area.
He is the former President of the Utah Council of Chapters of the Military Officers Association, life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, member of the American Legion and Military Order of the World Wars. In addition, he served as Vice Chairman of the Utah Military & Veterans Affairs Committee and as a member of the Utah Veterans Council.
Jerry was an active member of Saint Ambrose Catholic Church, Salt Lake City and served as a Eucharistic Minister, Lector, usher and Grand Knight of the St. Ambrose Knights of Columbus.
He has a BS from the United States Merchant Academy, a MS (International Affairs) from The George Washington University and was a PhD Candidate at the University of Utah. He was a graduate of the Command & Staff and the Senior Naval Warfare courses of study at the U.S. Naval War College.
He is survived by his wife Dorothy, daughters Kathy, Ann and Marian and son Gerald (Chip) III. Six grandchildren and five great- grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents and brother Kenneth.
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated 11:00 a.m. Friday April 21, 2017 at Saint Ambrose Catholic Church, 1975 South 2300 East, Salt Lake City. A viewing and recitation of the rosary will be held 1 hour prior to the Mass, also at the church. Internment: Mt. Calvary Catholic Cemetery, 4th Ave. & 'T' Street, Salt Lake City, with full military honors. In Lieu of flowers, Jerry has asked that donations be made to the Navy- Marine Corps Relief Society, 875 North Randolph Street, Arlington, VA 22203-1757. Online guestbook and obituary at www.odonnellandsons.com.
Published in Salt Lake Tribune from Apr. 19 to Apr. 20, 2017
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