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Jerome J. (Jerry) Colivas

1925 - 2017 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Jerome J. (Jerry) Colivas Obituary
JEROME J. (JERRY) COLIVAS Jerome was born February 27, 1925 in Eureka to Tom and Mary Colivas. He died at St. Joseph's Hospital November 30, 2017, he was 92. Jerry grew up in Cutten where the family owned a home and 40 acres near Walnut Drive and Holly Street. During high school his parents moved from Eureka to San Francisco, so he attended both Eureka High and Mission High in San Francisco and graduated in 1942. He had been "skipped" a grade so he graduated at age 17 and then worked loading ammunition ships until he turned 18 and joined the Army. He fought in the South Pacific in WWII. He was in four historic battles and was very patriotic and of the view that war should only be the very last resort. He and some others in the Rotary Club of SW Eureka started a Veterans Day Program in 1983 to honor all veterans. This program continues today, and he was the keynote speaker at several programs over the years. After the war he returned to San Francisco and attended the University of San Francisco (USF) where he studied Theology and History, and lettered playing on the USF tennis team. He met a young woman, Sheila Cook, who was attending Stanford School of Nursing. He and Sheila were married on March 31, 1950 and were married for more than 40 years. In 1951 they had the first of their six children. Jerry graduated from USF and was hoping to teach at Mission High, but his father died, so they made a "temporary" move to Eureka to sell his father's business, the Liberty bar in Old Town. About the time the bar sold, dad was offered a job at Eureka Jr. High which began an over 30-year career in Eureka City Schools as a teacher, counselor, dean, vice principal and principal. He never did move back to San Francisco, but he always loved the "City". He usually remembered his former students and got great satisfaction talking with them, especially as he got older. His fondest memories were the students, staff and teachers at the old George C. Jacobs Jr. High. He enjoyed officiating track and field events and did this before and after retirement. He also enjoyed local history and wrote many articles and gave talks about local history, especially Eureka's old street cars. Jerry and Sheila held an annual Greek lamb roast for almost 30 years where Jerry would roast a whole lamb on a spit and Sheila would make traditional Greek dishes. After his retirement, Jerry taught a few classes at Humboldt State University and worked for a travel agency planning overseas trips. He and Sheila traveled until she became ill and then Jerry cared for her until she died in 1994. After some years of being a widower he met Evie Harris and they had great times dancing and traveling. Jerry and Evie were married November 10, 2001, and he moved to her home in Fortuna. Jerry and Evie enjoyed volunteering with Meals on Wheels and participating in projects at the Fortuna Senior Center. Later they attended a Cancer Support group together as he was a cancer survivor. They also enjoyed keeping up their beautiful garden at home, attending many Humboldt Crabs baseball games, and playing bocce ball together. After his family, he loved all his diverse community of friends, and of course his accordion. He was a past president of the Rotary Club of SW Eureka and was a Paul Harris Fellow. He continued his Rotary membership and was active until his death. Recently he participated in this year's Veterans Day program. He was a past president of the Native Sons of the Golden West, Humboldt Parlor #14 and 65-year member of the order, and was a member of the Italian Catholic Federation and the Sons of Italy. He loved being involved in providing scholarships to local high school students and at the time of his death he was working on three of them, including one named for him. Of course, he most enjoyed playing the accordion that he played for over 80 years. He was most proud of the fact that he, along with his brother and another local person, won a talent show and got to perform at the San Francisco World's Fair on Treasure Island in 1939. He was a member of the Humboldt Accordionaires and played at many venues with them. The Accordionaires were like a second family to him. He was predeceased by his first wife, Sheila M. Colivas (1994), and his brother Captain James J. Colivas (1983). He leaves behind, his wife Evie Colivas; sister Rita Hammerstad (Bill); daughters Chris Titus (Ron), Karen Towns (Tim Lockwood); sons Jerry A. Colivas (Linda), Tom Colivas (Lisa), Sam Colivas (Sandi), Robert Colivas (Donna); step-daughter Tamera Johnson (Greg), step-son Gary Shatto (Rose); nephews Steven Colivas (Jorisa), and Kurt Colivas; and grandchildren Emily, Ashley, and Nik Colivas, Dustin (Sara) and Jared Towns, Caitlin Templeman (Nathan), Joseph and Kyle Titus, Jenece Burrows (James), Jenae Johnson, Claudette Shatto (Charles Lewis), Becky Chamberlain, Robert Hendrickson (Melissa Rayfield), Wiyaka Previte, Christopher, Casey, and Corbin Shatto; and great grandchildren Cody, Zoey, Collin, Chloe, Mya, Lilly, Kylah, Caleb, Cameron, Yuba, Ivan and Jasper and many close friends. The family wishes to give special thanks to the doctors and nurses at St. Joseph's Hospital in Eureka. Jerry was loved and admired by all who were lucky enough to know him. He relished being a part of "The Greatest Generation". Moral, ethical, kind, and a teacher of life, he will be greatly missed. A Rosary will be said, Saturday December 9, at 12:30 P.M. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 2065 Myrtle Avenue, Eureka, CA. A Mass and memorial service will be held at 1:00 P.M. that day. There will be a reception immediately following at the Sequoia Conference Center, 901 Myrtle Avenue, Eureka. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to either the Jerome J. Colivas Scholarship Fund, ICF in care of Joe Bonino Treasurer, PO Box 254, Eureka CA, 95502; the Rotary Club of SW Eureka Foundation, PO Box 6054, Eureka, CA 95502; or the Fortuna Senior Center, PO Box 336, Fortuna, CA 95540. Please sign the guestbook at www.times-standard.com
Published in Eureka Times-Standard on Dec. 6, 2017
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