d. May 2, 2013
Jerry Montgomery, a highly respected figure in the California rice industry, died May 2, 2013, of colon cancer. He was 78.
A 39-year resident of El Macero, Jerry was instrumental in expanding the California rice markets to the Pacific Islands, Puerto Rico and the United States through innovations in packaging and promotion. According to a Sacramento area rice grower, Jerry “had the God-given talent to market California rice better than any man alive.”
Jerry was born in Salem, S.D., in 1935 and moved to Southern California as a young boy. He graduated from Pomona Catholic High School in 1953, lettering three years in football. He attended UCLA and UC Berkeley, playing football for UCLA.
Always an avid outdoorsman and sportsman, Jerry rode his bicycle 4,000 miles from Los Angeles to Canada and backpacked the John Muir Trail from Mount Whitney to Yosemite Valley. Jerry also served in the U.S. Army as an aide to a general and was decorated for marksmanship.
He met the former Irene Kopec of Canada in San Francisco and they were married in Toronto in 1962. They had three daughters. Jerry was an accomplished woodworker, constructing much of their furniture by hand. He enjoyed golf, bicycling, travel and boar-hunting with his three sons-in-law.
Jerry was an inspiration, mentor and friend to many. “I learned more from Jerry over dinners at The Firehouse than I did in my two-year MBA at Columbia,” says one friend and colleague. Most of all, Jerry was loving husband, father, father-in-law and grandfather. His ever-present smile would light up a room.
Jerry is survived by his beloved wife, Irene; his three daughters, Cindy Pearson (Tom), Kerry Carswell (Bruce) and Alicia Sanguinetti (David); six grandchildren; and his sister, Arlene Martin.
A memorial service will begin at 11 a.m. Thursday, May 9, at St. James Parish, 1275 B St. in Davis, followed by a celebration of life at El Macero Country Club. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center.