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Geraldine pearl Allen Meyer
October 1924 ~ June 2019
Resident of Moraga, California
Jerry Meyer died on June 24 after complications from a recent fall. Reaching age 94, she led a full life that reflected her times. Born in Virginia, she was a proud "Navy brat," living in 30 different houses including in some faraway places like the Philippines and the Panama Canal Zone. She was the youngest of three siblings; her brothers Howard and Carl went on to pursue Navy careers following their father.
As a Red Cross volunteer during World War II, she drove ambulances transporting expectant women whose husbands were involved in the war effort. It was during wartime that she met Army Captain George Meyer who was raised in Berkeley, CA. This Navy brat was now engaged to an Army man, oh my, and a Yankee at that. After blissfully ignoring the Army Chaplain's advice that "wartime marriages never last," they married in August 1944 and moved to the Bay Area after the war. The marriage lasted 54 years until George's death in 1998.
Contributing to the rising tide of the post war baby boom, Jerry had two daughters, Carol and Kathy, born 51 weeks apart in 1946 and 1947. Then living in Kensington, lifelong friends were made through the nursery school and through Ephany, a social and service group. Moving to Orinda she became active in Oakland Children's Hospital support groups. Perhaps in response to her initial pace of family making, Jerry's "surprise" son John was born a decade later in 1957 (the peak year of the baby boom). It was also his arrival and the need for more space at home that prompted George and Jerry to move from Orinda to Moraga in 1961.
Her desire to put down deep roots after moving frequently all her life, resulted in civic involvement that lasted for five decades. Jerry was a founding director of the Friends of the Moraga Library, its first president, and helped transition services from a bookmobile to its first physical location at a former Pacific Bell switching station building on School Street to its current facility on St. Mary's Road. She was active in the Moraga Historical Society, Moraga Parents Club, Moraga Community Association, the Rescue One Foundation and helped to establish her neighborhood association. She was the last original homeowner in the Devin Drive/El Paraiso neighborhood.
After the Town's incorporation she was on several committees to help launch the new local government. Most remarkably, she was the long-time chair of the Moraga Liaison Committee which met monthly to coordinate activities between the town, county, special districts and other entities. Originally established in 1964, she stepped off the committee at age 87 after 48 years of service. In her driving years, her car's license plate read "MY TOWN" with a frame that said Town of Moraga. She was recognized as the community's second Citizen of the Year in 1980.
With all of her community contributions, Geraldine Pearl was also a wonderful mother, grandmother and spouse. She was also most fortunate to have deep and long-lasting friendships that continued to blossom over decades. She often stepped into a proxy mother role to a child of a neighborhood single mother and to the children of some of her closest friends who worked overseas. It was usually an expanded family table often overflowing with guests, great conversation, much humor and love.
As with any family, sorrow visited, and when it came to Jerry's family it brought much baggage. Her eldest daughter Carol Lewis contracted cancer in early adulthood and died at age 44. Her second daughter Kathy Reed died seven years ago at age 64 after a brief cancer related illness. Jerry did not dwell on such loss. She harvested joy from Carol's child, her first and only grandson Eric, now 42. She celebrated the continued happiness of someone who she will always think of as her son-in-law David Lewis and his wife Chris. She was also was proud that her son John and daughter-in-law Karen had taken on the public service mantle. When John was named city manager in Davis, she was thrilled.
Beginning in her late 80s, Jerry began to slow and grew to rely on and enjoy her caregivers. The family is particularly grateful for the long-term and wonderful care and companionship provided by Suzanne and Luba who joined Jerry for many thousands of hands of gin rummy. No memorial will be held, but honoring Jerry's likely desires, we ask that you each party like it's 1944 and raise a toast to Geraldine Pearl. For those interested in donations, may we suggest the Friends of the Moraga Library or the Moraga Rescue One Foundation.