Jerry O’Hare

Jerry, you left a legacy for Vashon Island.

Jerry was born Jerold Dennis O’Hare in Everett Washington to Wayman and Esther Hubbard O’Hare. He grew up in Lowell, a small community on the outskirts of Everett. His Pop worked at the Everett Pulp and Paper Mill and his Mom taught school. He had an idyllic childhood. His biggest problem was being teased by his older brother.

As a kid, he was not involved in sports. He loved making music. His Mom sacrificed in order to buy him a clarinet and a saxophone. He played in the Everett High School Marching Band and a dance combo called the Silver Chords. He played the tuba at Washington State University (WSU). He delighted in telling people he was a “Tuba playing forestry major.”

His Pop was a golfer, and he taught Jerry how to golf. Jerry caddied at the golf course, and in return, they would let him play forfree. He became a pretty good golfer. Jerry graduated from high school in 1956 and went on to Everett Junior College. He then enrolled at WSU majoring in Forestry. He married in 1961, and his first son Mathew was born while he was still in college.Then came Seth and then his daughter, Charlotte, whom Jerry delivered into the world. He graduated in 1963 with a degree in Forest Management and went to work forthe Forest Service and then the Northern Pacific RR, measuring out tracts of forest land and calculating the amount of timber in them. It was during this time that he ‘caught the survey bug,’ as he would say. He became a licensed Professional Land Surveyor in March, 1966. Jerry started his survey company in 1967 and opened an office in Ellensburg. He had a secretary and several survey crews. He worked all over the area surrounding Ellensburg and Cle Elum. He was well known in the community and had connections and friendships with several real estate developers. Everything was going great- until it wasn’t. He had to start laying off employees and was having trouble paying the bills. “My company got too big”, he would say afterwards.

About this time one of his developer friends told him about an investment opportunity. It was a marina on an island in Puget Sound – Vashon Island. With his survey company crashing, Jerry decided to throw in the towel. He closed his survey company in Ellensburg, and moved the family to Vashon Island in 1982. But the marina investment didn’t pan out, and Jerry lost his shirt. After that, he would drive by the marina and mutter, “There’s Jerry’s Folly.”

After the marina investment went south, Jerry went up to Alaska for a couple of years doing survey work. He came back and reopened his survey company here on Vashon. He worked out of his home, and his only employee was his son, Seth. His survey company never “got too big” again. Jerry’s survey business thrived on Vashon Island. After many years, Jerry had surveyed most of the Island. He had put in the hard work. His survey network and control points were all over the island. He was the “Go To” person that everyone depended on. He loved his work, and he loved helping the people of Vashon. He never wanted to retire. He worked up to the day he went to the hospital with pneumonia.

Jerry’s hobbies included golf, gardening, and playing the tenor sax in the Portage Philharmonic. He joined the Vashon Golf and Country Club soon after he moved to Vashon. He only golfed once a week, but he was adamant about that once a week – Every Saturday, at 3:00pm, no matter the weather. He loved bluegrass music and he always brought his banjo to parties. He told the story of when he first moved to Vashon, he was driving through town and heard bluegrass music coming from Bishop’s Pub. He knew right then that Vashon was going to be good for him. And it was.

Jerry had the gift of gab and a way of setting people at ease. He never met a stranger. He always had a story to tell. He was genuine, honest, fair. He was a gentleman. He was the proverbial bull in the china shop. He had impeccable table manners. He was a klutzy dancer. He was an excellent cook. He was a terrible housekeeper. He was a good provider. He was strong and unflinching. He was like a child at Christmastime.

Jerry, you left a legacy for Vashon Island. A hundred years from now when people want to know where their property lines are, your name will come up. And future surveyors will say, “Man, that O’Hare guy really got around.”

Jerry is survived by his wife Dianne, daughter Charlotte, son Mathew, stepsons Terrence (Toby) and Ed, nieces and nephews, grand nieces and nephews, and great grand nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his son, Seth. A celebration of life to be announced at a later date.