Gerald Eugene Snodgrass – son, husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend – was born on Oct 5, 1937 in Yakima, WA to Glenn and Dorothy Snodgrass.  He passed away peacefully at his Renton, WA home on Nov 15, 2007 after courageously battling GIST for over 7 years.  He was strong, brave, and never complained when he was presented with life’s challenges.

He was diagnosed with GIST in May 2000 and began his long journey with cancer.  He began Gleevec in May 2002 when liver metastasis were discovered.  He began on 400 mg per day and later progressed to 600 mg per day and 800 mg per day as his disease continued to progress.  He began Sutent in Mar 2006 and continued on it until Nov 2006.

He went back on 800 mg Gleevec in Mar 2007 in hopes of slowing tumor growth.  He  tried unsuccessfully to obtain AMN107 on a compassionate basis as he did not qualify for a clinical trial.  His treatment was complicated because he was diagnosed with colon cancer in Sepember 2006 and began chemotherapy  treatment for it in addition to the GIST treatment

Jerry’s childhood home was filled with a lot of love and family activities.  His family enjoyed camping, hiking, and boating.  He fished and hunted with his dad and they worked together on many projects.  The family household always included dogs, cats, and a special pigeon which flew to school with Jerry and then reappeared after school to fly home with him.  Jerry was always responsible and mature for his age.  He had “the knack” at a very young age.  He could fix anything and everything and was a hard worker.  He spent every summer from the age of 12 to 18 at his Grandpa Ingram’s wheat ranch in Bickleton, WA and worked in the wheat fields and with the farm animals.  Also, from age 14 to 18, after school, he worked at a TV repair shop doing what he loved best – fixing things.  He worked at the State Highway Dept on a survey crew during his summer college breaks.

He graduated from Yakima High School in 1956 and from the University of Washington in 1961 with a degree in Electrical Engineering.  He later earned his Professional Engineering License.

He met his wife, Deanne, while attending the University of Washington.  They began dating , attending concerts, movies, parties, the typical dating activities.  He was a very quiet individual and getting him to open up and speak could be trying.  One day they went for a drive up to the mountains and ended up at a wonderful restaurant.  They stopped for dinner and then went and hike up a nearby trail.  All of a sudden Deanne felt completely comfortable with him (like wearing an old pair of shoes that you don’t want to part with).  They didn’t have to have constant chatter or activity to enjoy each other’s company.  Soon they began some serious dating and about six months later, he proposed and of course, Deanne accepted.

Jerry began his career working for the Boeing Company in Seattle, WA and retired after 36 years with Boeing.  He worked on many projects ranging from the Minuteman Missile Program to the 777 airplane.  He was highly respected by his co-workers.  His work was always very thorough and when he finished a project, you could be sure it did not require changing or need to be redone.  He was privileged work with the finest of people and he enjoyed his career.

He and Deanne are the parents of two children, Layne and Julie.  They purchased their home in a beautiful treed neighborhood where  they’ve lived ever since.  Jerry loved fixing and building things, and was never happier than when he could turn on his saw and build something.  He was the complete do-it-yourselfer.  They have never hired a repairman, never taken a car in for service or repair until very recently.  He has build beautiful, fine quality furniture that is in their home and in their children’s homes.  He could sand a piece of wood until it was smooth as silk and had the wonderful patience to make perfect joints.  He enjoyed doing landscaping his yard, fixing plumbing or electrical problems, and could always get the job done.  Deanne knows she was very blessed by his many talents – and as a result she says she doesn’t know how to change a light bulb.

As a family, Jerry and Deanne and the children enjoyed being together.  Hiking and camping were important activities as well as water activities.  The best purchase the family ever made was buying a used water-ski boat and boating with the children.  When the children went off to college, they sold the boat for the same amount they paid for it and used the money to buy a computer for each child.

The children brought much joy into their home and Jerry was always involved in their activities.  He was always very patient with them.  The very few times he raised his voice, they really listened.  His family now includes Layne’s wife, Gena and Julie’s husband, Bob and seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Jerry was a very shy and quiet person his entire life.  He did not like the spotlight on him but he always did what was required of him.  Beneath his quiet exterior lies great strength of character.  He always saw the best in other people and never criticized others for anything.  He was always willing to help others and was generous with both his time and his means.  He had an understanding heart and spoke only kind words.  He loved his wife of 45 years and his children and grandchildren, and also his Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  He knew that life is eternal and that families can be together forever.

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