July 30, 1948 - February 1, 2021
Bellingham, Washington - Jerry Tegarden, musician and songwriter, of Bellingham, WA passed away Monday, February 1st, 2021 at the age of 72. Born in Eugene, Oregon he spent his childhood in Southwestern Washington around Kelso and Longview. He then spent time in the Navy on the East coast. After returning to Washington he worked at a pawnshop where he met the first love of his life, a Gibson Johnny Smith hollow body electric guitar. He came to Bellingham in the early 1970's and like many young musicians started playing at the legendary Kulshan Tavern in Fairhaven. He was well known for leading open mics at Fast Eddie's, The Roeder Home and Mama Sunday's and performed at many restaurants, clubs and taverns. Jerry played electric and acoustic and loved pop, country and blues from the 60's and 70's as well as obscure jazz classics from the 30's and 40's. He got a degree in English from Western Washington University and taught part time Continuing Ed at Bellingham Technical College. A voracious reader, he could have written novels, but chose instead to write short stories...they're called songs. He met the second (true) love of his life in the early 80's. His sweetheart, Rose, became the subject of several of his songs and a line from one of them says it best: "we never lived together, but we've seldom been apart." For the last 37 years his friends were in awe of their relationship. Jerry lived a simple, honest life, never needing or wanting much. He appreciated classic, well-made items. "The only wealth I'll ever have is in the songs I sing." Jerry was preceded in death by his parents Donald and Necia Tegarden and is survived by his brother Bruce (Jan), and his sweetheart Rose Nerad.
Published in Bellingham Herald on Feb. 28, 2021.