Obituary of Jerry Eidam
Gerald “Jerry” Arthur Eidam, 92, died at home in his sleep on May 2, 2023. Jerry was born on April 29, 1931 in Ames, Nebraska to William John Eidam and Grace Lenora Olson Eidam. He spent his early life on a farm in rural Nebraska before moving to town, Fremont, for his high school years and working at the family service station. He attended the local junior college for a semester and then joined the Navy to serve for four years in the Pacific on a small ship, the Orca , stationed mainly in Hong Kong.
He returned home to Nebraska to attend the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, graduating with a degree in both chemistry and mathematics. He taught for one year in Nebraska and then moved to southern California where he held teaching jobs in both Bakersfield and Oceanside before in 1963 joining the Department of Defense teaching program in Tokyo, Japan. It was here he met Nancy Devaux, a fellow teacher from Connecticut. They were married in the summer of 1964 and then continued to work with the military schools serving one year each in Ankara, Turkey and then Kaiserslautern, Germany.
On their return to the United States, Jerry attended Southern Illinois University in Carbondale summer school receiving his Masters in Mathematics. Deciding to return to California for a teaching job, he interviewed in several northern California cities before taking a break from interviews and staying in Santa Cruz for the weekend. As he and Nancy drove into town in the late afternoon, they spotted the County Office of Education on Mission Street and stopped by where he was offered a job at Mission Hill Junior High. After a quick tour of the town and seeing a house for sale that they soon bought, he accepted the offered position. After one year at Mission Hill he became a part of the math department at the newly opened Harbor High School where he stayed until retirement.
Because the University has just started up in town and real estate was booming, Jerry decided to become a real estate agent and joined with Nittler& Nittler Realtors where he stayed until he got his own broker’s license, opening a small office and managing his own rental properties and motel. Active in the motel group, he served as president of the Santa Cruz Lodging Association for several years.
Jerry and Nancy met traveling and continued their love of traveling throughout his life taking family vacations around the West each summer with their two children, Gralen and Gar, visiting most of the major national parks and monuments and then in later years taking longer ventures. They traveled together to all seven continents and well over 100 countries.
Jerry was preceded in death by his older brother, William Eidam, Jr., and daughter, Gralen Devaux Eidam Wilson. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Nancy, son Gar, and brother Don Eidam of Minnesota, and sister Jeanne Andersen of Florida. He had five grandchildren, Mitchell and Morgan Eidam of Santa Cruz and Jenna, Caleb and Fiona Wilson of Westlake Village, California.
He requested no special services, but a celebration of his life will be held at an open house at his home and garden on Sunday, June 25, from 2 to 5 p.m.
Gifts in memory of Jerry may be made to Hospice of Santa Cruz County by mail: 940 Disc Drive, Scotts Valley or online at www.HospiceSantaCruz.org or an organization of your choice.