Jerald Ray Holt
Jerry told his last Dad joke on September 22, 2022. After a tense moment in the ICU, he looked around at his wife of 55 years and three adult daughters, drew breath, paused, and quipped, “I’m sure you’re all wondering why I’ve gathered you here today.” We laughed, which was what he wanted.
Born in Kansas City, MO between the two atom bombs, Jerry was only months behind his wild big brother Danny. Baby sisters Linda and Judy soon followed. As the son of a single mother, Jerry watched his mother work hard every day of the week to “cheerfully” support her family. He learned a deep respect for mothers, hard workers, and families that stick together. When Jerry was six, Robert Holt married his mother Betty, and the family was complete. Known to most of his grandchildren only in the memories that lived on in his wife and the four children they loved and raised together, Bob was always with us. He taught our father how to be a father, how to be a husband, and for that legacy we will always be grateful. Introduced by his sister Judy, Jerry fell in love and proposed to Barbara Hill on her 18th birthday. Exactly six months later they were married and have been happy sweethearts ever since.
Each of their three daughters–Stacy, Robin, and Heather–spent their childhoods at the bottoms of ladders, dutifully handing up one nail at a time, an immeasurably important job even though he had a well-used tool belt. As women we watched him bend down again from up high to explain, hold the small hands of our children, and to solve puzzles with the pencil always shining in his breast pocket. He was a quietly proud man who never hesitated to help. To bend. He was tender, attentive, and patient as a father, grandfather, and uncle. Each of his nine grandchildren loved his quiet attention, and all learned the hard way that Papa would find the longest possible way to answer all of their curious questions.
Jerry graduated from Santa Barbara High school in 1963 and attended UCSB for three semesters before taking time off to work and save money for his return to school. When he was drafted in 1966, he chose to serve seven years in the Nuclear Navy where he taught calculus, was known as Univac 2000, and was a plank owner of the USS Pintado. After his years of service, Jerry graduated from UCSB with an honors degree in Electrical Engineering. His career at Santa Barbara Research Center and later Raytheon made him a rocket scientist to his daughters. They still don’t know much about satellites, the robots on Mars, or infrared light waves, but that is not for lack of trying on Jerry’s part.
The things we did learn from him, he taught by example. He showed gratitude, gave compliments, put his family first, acted with honor always, never told others what to do, and did the dishes before doing the dishes. He was proud to have his name in the stars, but we believe his greatest achievement was the love and trust of his family. He will be with us always.