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Aileen Uchida

Like a welcome summer rain,

humor may suddenly cleanse

and cool the earth,

the air

and you.”

Langston Hughes

That was Jerry. Always trying to lift your spirit or ease a patient's anxiety with a little levity. He loved to make his family laugh, especially his mother and sister. Poet, artist, writer, musician, dentist… he wore his many hats well. I was lucky to be his 2nd “practice marriage”. I would kid him that I only needed one “practice marriage” but he needed two to help him find the love of his life with Lucia. Though our time together was brief, I was happy that we always remained friends.

Our friend John Dally used to come over to “jam” and talk story… he offered this memory.

“I remember that I visited you and Jerry several times in Menlo Park nearly 40 years ago… and I don't think I've ever had as much fun since those get-togethers. Somehow my humor connected really well with Jerry's.

I remember jamming with him in your San Jose house. He even recorded us once and used it on his answering machine. I don't remember exactly, but at that time we would have played Louie, Louie, All Along the Watchtower, Knocking on Heaven's Door . . .

I remember one conversation I had with Jerry in the San Jose house; somehow we got on the topic of the Japanese author Mishima who first trained his body to *perfection* and then committed ritual suicide. When we compared notes, we said, well if it had been me, then I probably would have noticed that my right bicep was a millimeter larger than my left bicep and that I needed to train longer to reach the perfect physique; and, yeah that's right, and there's a little bit of fat on my left external oblique . . . We were both laughing hysterically coming up with the most minute excuses to postpone the suicide. (The chemistry was good, we could play off each other and laugh.)

It was nice spending this time reflecting on Jerry.”

Pot lucks, fundraisers, dinners with family and friends, many memories.

Even after we parted, he would come by for Birthdays and Oshogatsu to say hello to everyone. Jerry was always Jerry, funny, a little crazy, but always a good friend, uncle, cousin, brother, nephew, son, boss, mentor, … just a good man with a good heart that I’m glad to have spent time with. I am attaching a few photos that bring a smile. Auntie Hazel came to visit several times and this first photo we celebrated Jerry’s 40th birthday.

Jerry’s 40th Birthday with Auntie Hazel, Barbara, and Dorothy - Sept. 8, 1987

Jerry often told me one of the best summers growing up was when he spent time with his Uncle Jitsuo, Auntie Hazel and cousins Andrew and Dennis Morikawa. He cherished the memory and this photo of him and his two older cousins.

Denny, Jerry and Andy est 1956

Jerry age 5 years old in Chicago. Est. 1952.

Jerry with his maternal grandmother Takii in 1947.

2008 both he and Lucia came to my parent’s 88th birthday celebration.

In Photo: Rose Tseng, Jerry, John Vasconcellos and Lucia (September 2008)

There is no doubt that from UC Berkeley, Harvard, to Washington University St. Louis, that Jerry could do whatever he set out to do. He always amazed me how quickly he could do calculations in his head. In the past I believe he struggled with finding the right balance between art, community commitments and work at his dental practice. I believe at the end of his life he was able to find that balance with Lucia’s love and support, the love and support of his mother and sister and the support of his extended community family and friends.

Wishing you Peace Jer.

Aileen Uchida

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When I first met with Jerry, I feel he is really polite, quite at ease n interesting! I really had a good conversation with him. The second time we met, I played golf with him and his mother n sister.


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