Jerry JR Schultz
It is said that the brightest stars often burn too hot, but if you knew Jerry JR Schultz, you would have appreciated his energy, and admired the gusto with which he pursued his passions. . . He was, and always will be, a shining star to those of us who loved him. We still feel the warmth in his heart daily, strongly. It’s hard to let go, because he left so suddenly. Jerry died in his sleep on April 26th, 2008.
Every day, the Pacific Ocean sends a breeze into Santa Barbara, carrying with it memories of our Jerry. . . He loved the ocean and the Channel Islands – his favorite was Santa Cruz Island, but he knew them all well. He couldn’t spend enough time on the water – surfing, scuba diving, free diving, but most of all – fishing. Every sunrise was inspiration enough for Jerry to go trout fishing, or spear fishing, or deep sea fishing. We have so many photos of him – a little sweaty, a little sunburned, but usually with a big smile showing off his catch. The fun and pride of a little boy never faded as he aged.
He knew the joy of the outdoors living in St. Croix as a child, then during the time he lived on the Baja outside Cabo San Lucas, and finally during the years he called Santa Barbara home.
It’s easy to imagine his spirit now, embodied in the elements of wind, water, sand, and sunshine. In fact, Jerry had wanted his body to be cast into the Santa Barbara Channel in a burial-at-sea. Well, the authorities informed us that’s against the law, so we hope Jerry understands that his ashes will be scattered into the salty waters. He will rest there among the marine life he respected and cherished. He’ll become one with the waves and the dolphins, and the moonlight on the water. We joked many times that Jerry was part fish.
His family and friends will also remember him as a talented artist. He designed T-shirts for Divers Den, he airbrushed surf boards, and he mastered faux finish painting. And while his creativity burned bright, we also had a huge capacity for friendship, and for being a good friend. He was always quick to help someone in need, without thought for himself. People were attracted to his sharp wit and magnetic personality. Wherever he went, in whatever kind of situation, Jerry was able to make friends easily.
He never had trouble chatting with people, shooting the breeze, laughing at jokes and stories. Strangers turned to friends quickly, drawn to this man who didn’t judge people, who never cast a critical eye around him. The world has lost a vital link in the chain of goodness and kindness. It’s up to us now to carry on his gift of truly caring about other people.
The next time you’re at the beach, and a blast of salt air hits you in the face, think of Jerry. Or if you’re driving along the coast and you catch a glimpse of a sea creature or a bird, say a prayer for our Jerry. The next time you visit Baja or the West Indies and the warm, humid weather makes you forget your troubles, remember Jerry. Remember him as our sweet, loving, and shining star. Jerry JR Schultz is survived by his mother Judy MacNeil, his father Jerry Schultz Sr., sister Kristie Ann Schultz, beloved niece Samantha Chase Schultz MacNeil stepfather Sayre MacNeil, as well as Aunts, Uncles and Cousins in California and the East Coast. His family will hold a private service July 19th, 2008; in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Heal the Ocean (www.healtheocean.org) in Santa Barbara.