Gerry Desmarais

Gerry DESMARAIS Gerry passed away on January 16, 2011, to the shock and devastation of his family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. He was born in Yakima, WA on June 21, 1956, the fourth of six sons born to Jeanne and Andrew Desmarais, and grew up in Moxee, Harrah, and Toppenish. He attended Toppenish High School where he excelled in sports and academics, and was the valedictorian of the Class of 1974. After attending Yakima Valley Community College, Gerry became a member of Cougar Nation and graduated from Washington State University in 1979 with a degree in mechanical engineering, which formalized his lifelong interest and aptitude for all things mechanical. Also while at WSU, Gerry met Lynn, a fellow engineering student, and began a relationship built on friendship, laughter, trust and devotion to family. They were married in 1982, and celebrated their 28th anniversary in December. Gerry joined Boeing in October 1980 as a mechanical design engineer. Throughout his career, Gerry was frequently recognized for his significant contributions and accomplishments. He was instrumental in the development and design of many aerospace products for Boeing Defense Space and Security, and many research and development activities. Gerry was very highly regarded for his engineering design, innovation, professionalism, and friendship. His dedication and enthusiasm for the art of engineering has left an indelible impression and legacy within the Boeing Company and the community. Gerry will be deeply missed by the Boeing team where he served as a colleague, mentor and was a good friend to all. Outside of work, the light of his life was his three children, David, John and Robin. He followed and encouraged all of their interests and activities, all the while imparting his strong sense of integrity and responsibility. Gerry volunteered his time generously with school and sports, including support of the elementary school science fairs and math enrichment programs, coaching baseball for many springs and summers, and most recently, supporting the robotics program at Lindbergh High School (Renton) and the current effort to expand the program's level of competition. Gerry's belief in the potential of young people was remarkable and inspirational. Gerry's passing at this time is a profound loss for so many. His boisterous, infectious laugh and quick wit, his humility, his endlessly challengeable intellect, and his attention to the little things that make life comfortable, meaningful, warm and secure will be greatly missed, and yet they are among the gifts that he leaves us. On behalf of the Desmarais family, we offer many thanks for the amazing outpouring of support and love we have experienced during the past week. It is truly the evidence of God's love for us all and the power of community. Gerry was preceded in death by his parents, Jeanne and Andrew, and brother Rick. He is survived by his wife Lynn, sons David and John and daughter Robin, all of Renton; brothers Bernie (Faith) of Ollala, WA, Dan (Linda) of Soldotna, AK, John (Karen) of Portland, OR, and Tom (Laura) of Menlo Park, CA, and sister-in-law Ruth of Richland, WA; nieces Corinne (TJ), Michelle and Andrea, and nephews Kenny (Courtney), Nick, Patrick, Joey, and Andrew. A funeral mass will be held at 11am on Monday, January 24, 2011 at St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Renton, with a reception following in the church hall, and committal at 1:30 pm at the Greenwood Memorial Park. Visitation will be from 12pm to 5pm on Sunday, also at Greenwood Memorial Park in Renton. Memorial contributions may be made in Gerry's name to the Lindbergh High School Robotics Program or to Communities in Schools of Renton (CISR). Donations to either organization may be sent care of: Renton School District 300-SW 7th St. Renton, WA, 98057 Express your thoughts and memories in the online guest book at

Published in The Seattle Times on Jan. 23, 2011