GERALD THOMAS SMITH, JR.
October 27, 1934 - July 4, 2020
Gerald (Jerry) Thomas Smith, of Bakersfield, California, passed away peacefully on July 4, 2020.
Jerry was born to Lily and Gerald T. Smith, Sr. on October 27,1934, in his hometown of Bakersfield, California. He attended East Bakersfield High School where he enjoyed playing football and running track. While serving in the United States Army, he was stationed in Oahu, Hawaii. Jerry was always an avid thrill seeker. He had a passion for racing boats, flying planes, water skiing, snow skiing, as well as stock car and drag racing. He loved to hunt and go deep sea fishing with his brother, sons, nephew, and friends. His passion for flying led him to a career as a crop duster pilot and co-owner of Wheeler Ridge Aviation with his friend, Ron Hevle.
Affectionately known as "Pop," Jerry was truly loved by family and friends. He had an incredible heart and spirit when it came to serving others. He would often go out of his way to help anyone in need and was a wonderful example to many.
Jerry recently celebrated his 52nd wedding anniversary with the love of his life, Mary Ann. He was a fellow believer and one who cherished his bride for all to see. Together, they raised eight wonderful children and experienced countless adventures. He was blessed with 45 grandchildren and 44 great grandchildren. He had an incredible love for his family, all 105 members, and spending time with them was the highlight of his life.
Jerry was best friends and "Big Brother" to Larry and Deanna Smith. One of Jerry's greatest joys was spending time with his little brother traveling, enjoying the outdoors, and working at the family ranch, Smith and Sons. One trip took them to the Holy Land where they experienced the joy of being baptized in the Jordan River. It was not uncommon to find Jerry and Larry joking and laughing, as brothers often do.
His friendship was treasured by all and brought him such joy throughout his life. This is evident in his friendship with Larry Molatore for more than 62 years. Just to know Jerry was truly a blessing.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Gerald and Lily Smith, and son, Brad Hudiburg.
His beautiful life will forever be cherished in the lives of his family. He is survived by his loving wife, Mary Ann; his children, Leann and Jack Leonard, Jeff and Carol Smith, Tracy and Joseph Almeida, Robin and Sean Fredsti, Kevin and Lisa Hudiburg, Julie and Dan Hudson, and Howard and Lisa Smith; grandchildren and great-grandchildren; brother Larry and Deanna Smith; niece and nephew; grand nieces and grand nephews; and many, many friends.
A Celebration of Life Service will be at a later date due to COVID-19. Remembrances can be made to the American Parkinson Disease Foundation in lieu of flowers www.apdaparkinson.org .
The family would like to express their gratitude for the wonderful help and care given by Lancia Griffin, the doctors and nurses of Memorial Hospital, and special friend, Terrie Wattenbarger.