Gerald Jerry Petitt
Jerry was born in Mason City, Iowa, October 2, 1925. Jerry moved to Southern California when he was 12. Shortly after graduating from Wilson High School in Long Beach in 1943, Jerry joined the U.S. Army Air Corps. After serving his country, Jerry moved to Ashland, Ore. where he met Thelma Kathryn Kay Howard and began work as a welder at Oak Street Tank and Steel.
Jerry and Kay were married in 1948, and raised two children, Dona and Bill. After meeting wildlife artist David Hagerbaumer in the early 1960s, Jerry began painting, and after 25 years as a welder, he left Oak Street in 1975 to devote his full attention to his artwork. Jerry's art became popular throughout the West and his paintings were sold at a number of galleries including the Lee Youngman Gallery in Calistoga, The Decoy in Carmel, and Wild Wings and Abercrombie and Fitch throughout the Northwest. Together, Jerry and Kay operated the Cascade Wildlife Gallery in Ashland from 1976 to 1988, selling Jerry's work as well as works by other local artists. For many years, Jerry was active in Ashland Lions and Ducks Unlimited, and was Oregon Ducks Unlimited Artist of the Year in 1985.
Jerry loved music, bad jokes, the outdoors, and most of all, his family and friends. Jerry is survived by his brother, Zane Dory (Margaret); daughter, Dona Smith (Ron); son, Bill Petitt (Virginia); five grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; longtime family friends, Yvonne and Joey Ngan and their two children; and many, many wonderful friends in the Ashland community.
A celebration of Jerry's life will be held Saturday, November 17, 2012, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Pioneer Hall in Ashland, Oregon. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Ashland YMCA.