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Jacob H. "Jerry" Best Jr.


1937 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Jacob H. "Jerry" Best Jr. Obituary
Jerry "Pops" Best passed away peacefully in Rancho Santa Fe on August 30, 2018 surrounded by his family at the age of 81. He was born on July 21, 1937 to Jacob Hilmer Best and Clara Cornell Best in Chicago, Illinois. Jerry graduated from Niles High School in Skokie, Illinois in June 1955 where he excelled in football, equine sports and taught horseback riding to students in summer camp. He went on to college on full football scholarship to Michigan State University and graduated with a B.A. in Hotel Management. This is where he also met the love of his life, his wife of 59 years, Janet Donnelly. They married in 1959 and had 3 beautiful children (Jay, Peter & Julie) a.k.a "Best 5". Jerry began his hotel career with Marriott Corporation in its humble beginnings when the total hotel count consisted of 4 properties. Through the span of 20 years with Marriott, he created exciting memories throughout the US moving his family to dozens of cities launching the flagship hotels from Boston to Hawaii. He started a career on a hotel sales team at The Blackstone in Chicago and worked his way to CEO for several major international hotel companies. His career never held him back from flying home to be at each of his kid's sporting events and coaching for their teams. He was known by all throughout the many ice hockey rinks, football & baseball fields for his famous "whistle" followed by his never ending encouragement. He was the ultimate family man and a man of great Catholic Faith. His career & accomplishments included being the recipient of the Michigan State School of Hospitality Business Leadership Hall of Fame. He had incredible charisma and a zest for life that created many unique life experiences, including being invited to carry the torch on horseback for the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games. He was passionate about his career and even more so about the people around him. He successfully retired several times, but continued to be pursued to lead, grow companies and develop people in the hotel industry. Over a span of 50+ years as a leader in his field, he was revered as a mentor to hundreds of industry professionals. He and Janet enjoyed retirement by traveling the world, golfing, dancing, hosting social gatherings, actively participated with the Church of the Nativity & various children's charities throughout the San Diego area. His family knows he is in a better place and now able to dance "The Jig" as he always did so well! He is survived by his wife Janet, brother Scott Best, sister-in-law Barbara, children Jay Best, daughter-in-law Kate, Peter Best, daughter-in-law Patty & Julie Best, son-in-law Jeff and grandchildren Brandt (wife Lauren), Courtney, Austin, Austin H, Tucker, Sara, Brandon, Karen, Trevor, Carly, Brandon, Blake, and his great grandson Bodhi. Services will be held on Saturday, September 15th @ 11:00 am at The Church of the Nativity 6309 El Apajo Road Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067 In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to Casa de Emparo c/o Ms Kathy Karpe' 325 Buena Creek Road, San Marcos, CA 92069 and/or Just in Time for Foster Youth c/o Mr. Don Wells P.O. Box 81292, San Diego, CA 92138 . You will always be missed and never forgotten. God Bless you Pops! "Shake 'em up!"
Published in a Chicago Tribune Media Group Publication from Sept. 11 to Sept. 13, 2018
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