Jerry passed away peacefully surrounded by her family in her Coronado home in the afternoon of January 5, 2022. She had been fighting a long battle with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF). She left this world smiling and blowing kisses to her family who had gathered around her bedside.
Jerry was born on November 5, 1934 to Loyce and Darryl Rutherford in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Both of her parents came from large families with seven children in each. They instilled in her a deep love for family, music and faith. The important thing in life was having people you love around you. The more the merrier. She carried on this tradition throughout her life and it was evident from the moment you met her that she had a special quality about her. She led by example but never insisted that others follow her lead.
Much of Jerry’s childhood was spent between Oklahoma and Long Beach, California with her parents and younger sister Sandy. At one point they lived on a dairy farm. There she was taught to make do with what you have and appreciate it. She learned to cook from her mother and aunts who would prepare meals for large family and church functions. She became so proficient in the kitchen that it seemed that she could create a meal out of nothing. The expression “Jerryize a meal” was created to describe this gift.
Jerry’s love of music started early. She began playing the violin at age 4 and sang in church choirs all of her life. She played violin in the school orchestra, City orchestra and Southern California Orchestra even performing in the Hollywood Bowl.
She married a young Navy pilot, George B. Gregory, after high school and they moved to Coronado in 1955 after their son Robert was born. They had two daughters, Tracy and Terri, and lived in Coronado off and on as George’s military career took them all over the world before finally planting permanent roots there in 1971. After Jerry and George divorced she fell in love with and married a retired Navy pilot Dale Swisher. Interestingly, they were both born on the exact same day only hours apart. Together they brought much love, joy and music to the house on Carob Way. They traveled extensively together all over the world. She described him as “the love of my life.”
She loved to be around people, whether it was her church, her walking group, P.E.O., or her investment group, The Money Honeys. There were few that could keep up with her enthusiasm for life. This enthusiasm was contagious and people felt better just being around her. She made you feel like you were important and took a genuine interest in others.
In addition to her parents and husband Dale Swisher, Jerry is preceded in death by her sister Sandy Strain and her stepson Eric Coleman. She is survived by her son Robert D. Gregory (Heather), daughters Tracy Bostenero (Kevin), Terri Moreau (Art) and nephew Geoff Strain. She is also survived by her stepchildren Clay Swisher, Barbara Dailey (Kevin) and Shannon Rexrode. She was especially proud of her many grandchildren and great grandchildren that knew her as Gigi.
A memorial service at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church will be held on April 1st at 10 am followed by a Celebration of Life at the Coronado Community Center at 2 pm.