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This memorial is sponsored by:

Kelly Smith

Memorial created 05-31-2009 by
Kelly Smith
Jerry A Waldvogel
December 24 1953 - May 30 2009

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06-30-2009 2:41 PM -- By: Gary Gaston,  From: Oxford, MS  

I only met Jerry recently (in Belize), but considered him a friend after just a week.  I enjoyed learning from him about teaching, enjoyed watching his interactions with his students, and enjoyed his friendship.  He will be missed.

06-30-2009 2:21 PM -- By: Sarah Waldvogel,  From: Clemson, SC  

 I know that on this website, many things are said about the achievements of Jerry Waldvogel, about what a great friend, colleague, and teacher he was. Many people can add memories about these things, because Jerry Waldvogel touched the lives of huge numbers of people, in so many different ways. But I am the only person who can say that Jerry was my dad. I thought that somebody ought to post a description of Jerry as a dad on this site, because it was an important role in his life, and I think he would have said it was "unacceptable" if somebody didn't devote their post to it.

My dad was the kind of person who would drop whatever he was doing if I needed something, and would come to me and say, "What can I do to help?" He was the kind of person who would pull apart a section of our plumbing if I dropped my earring down the sink, who would play me his goofy music if I was tired and grumpy in the mornings, and who was always willing to explain chapters in my science book to me.

My dad was the kind of person who was always ready to support me. He always came to my concerts, was home on my birthdays, and could always make me feel better when I was upset. Dad could make me realize that there was a way to fix any problem that I had, and would usually make a hilarious (and sometimes rude) suggestion about how to make things better, and I would laugh and think that maybe my problem wasn't so  bad after all.

A few days before Dad died, I read a quote by Ghandi: "Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." I thought this described Dad very well. anyone who knew him cannot deny that he lived and learned more in 55 years than most people do in more than 80.

At his funeral, Dad was described as inspiring. He was inspiring to me, to my mom, and to everyone who knew him, and he was the greatest role model that anyone could have asked for. And even though he will never see me accomplish the things I plan to do, I hope that he knew he inspired me to be the best that I could be. Although he will never read the books I hope to write, see me as the teacher I would like to become, or walk me down the aisle, his loving guidance helped shape me into everything that I am.

                                    I love you Dad.


06-28-2009 9:22 AM -- By: Derrick Ouzts,  From: Summerville, SC  

I was a student in Dr. Waldvogel's biology 101 and 102 classes in 2003/2004.  What an awesome teacher, one of the best I had during my time at Clemson.  I just found out the news, a little in shock about it.  The class that I got up in the morning and looked forward to going to because I knew Dr. Waldvogel would make it so much fun.  I remember the Charles Darwin get up he was in.  The study sessions were a god send for the tests.  He genuinely cared about his students, made Biology lecture great.  Even after I left his class, he would stop me on campus and say hello and ask me how things were.  He will be missed and my prayers are with his family and loved ones.

06-25-2009 9:08 PM -- By: cathy sturkie,  From: clemson, sc  

again, like kelly, i'm writing a second time but not as eloquently as i would like.

what i'm about to say sounds really corny but it is very true and real to me.

on the sunday after jerry died on saturday i was on my front porch and, i swear, out on the edge of our pond was a great blue heron-taller than my tallest golden retriever-with its tuft of feathers on the top of its head reaching straight up, very high, all by itself.  my goldies did not even dare run down and scare it away, as they do the many canadian geese that hang out and swim.

i looked at the "big blue" and i said out loud but softly, hey, jerry.

two days ago, the big blue was back beautifully prancing around with long, slow strides.  still no doggies chased him off.

just the other day someone told me that "waldvogel" in german means something like "big, great bird."  i want to know if that is true - someone out there tell me.

nevertheless, when i see our big blue, i will always  think/remember/love jerry and i'll always say, hey, jerry.

i know this is corny, but it feels really good.

06-24-2009 5:56 PM -- By: Stephen Hathaway,  From: Stanford  

Jerry was one of my dearest friends, having played football against him in high school, and becoming close at Stanford, while always maintaining our shared "San Diego roots"...I will miss him.

06-24-2009 5:00 PM -- By: Katherine Savage,  From: Cary, NC  

I promised I would come back and write more.  I thought if I did it with a little bit of time in between Jerry's death I wouldn't cry so much.  Oh well.

I'm one of Sherry's sisters and was lucky enough to watch him be her friend first, then sweet husband, and then absolutely devoted father.  Our family is almost completely wildly liberal, and so family discussions when Jerry and Sherry were home were lively and deeply satisfying.  We all knew that Jerry was winning awards at Clemson, and it was obvious in how he talked about his students how much he put into his job - but still we didn't know.  We didn't know really all of him, and it has been wonderful to read the posts and see how much other people loved and admired him too.

As I said to my daughters as we walked away from the service, and will say to you all now...Go on out there and DO THAT!  Do what Jerry did!  Gosh what a world we would have!

06-23-2009 11:43 PM -- By: Lynn,  From: SC  

I remember being in Dr. Waldvogel's class for freshman Biology. Even though science was not my favorite subject the day I walked into that large crowded auditorium in the Fall of 1989, it soon became a class I looked forward to going to. He was a great teacher and a great man. The next semester, I planned my schedule around being in his class for second semester Biology. I loved his teaching style and still remember many of the stories he told in class.

Anytime I saw him around campus he was always smiling and took time to speak. Even years later, I would still occasionally cross paths with him and everytime, he would always offer a friendly hello. It is hard to believe he is gone, but never will he be forgotten.

My deepest sympathy to his family. The Clemson family has lost a great man but the wonderful memories and his inspiration will live on forever.

06-19-2009 9:55 PM -- By: Steve Bogdanowicz,  From: Ithaca  

 I remember playing touch football against Jerry at a "Pig Roast West" in the late '80s, and thinking "wow...so this is what it's like to play against a real football player."  I didn't mind losing the game; only thing more impressive than his football skills that day was his sense of humor. What a blast....

I'm very sorry this happened. My heart goes out to all who were close to him.

06-19-2009 11:20 AM -- By: Kimble Smith,  From:  

 I remember his humor. and mild suprise at having 2 African american roomates.  Jerry, Charles & I were all on Stanford freshman football team. He was a star I was just tring something new.

I got into the game once when we were so far ahead it bib not matter. He said you the ball on the next play. I did  and got globbered.

Thanks for that memory


06-18-2009 7:27 PM -- By: Steve Smith,  From: Humboldt State University  

I was very sorry to learn of Jerry's untimely passing. I also played football with Jerry at Kearny in the early 1970s. In those days I knew him only as a fine athlete and had no idea of his interests in all things biological. I discovered this quite by accident in the 1990s when I learned of his  expertise in "how to teach biology". I was able to bring him to my campus (in South Texas, at that time) to lead a workshop for my biology faculty. We had a very nice visit  birding and sharing our interests in Darwin. It was a brief, but very pleasant, crossing of paths. My thoughts go out to his family, friends, and colleagues.

06-18-2009 3:48 PM -- By: Lauren Miller,  From: Rockville, MD  

I still cannot believe what has happened and I don’t think I will fully realize that Dr. Waldvogel has left this earth until I get back to Clemson in the fall and don’t run into him walking across campus or in class. I had him my first semester at Clemson in a colloquium of only about 9 students. It was the most rewarding class I have taken- he taught us so much, showed us how to dig deeper into issues and convey our thoughts clearly. He was so supportive and eager to really get to know his students, something that is rare in many college professors. You would go into his office to hand in a paper and end up talking about all sorts of stuff- it was really great! I was honored to have him help me into a summer research program by writing me a recommendation and working on the Evolution Matters project with him was amazing too. It was so clear that he had such a passion for evolution and biology and a dedication to improve science education. His character and intellect were inspiring and his passion contagious. Dr. Waldvogel was an amazing teacher and will be greatly missed. My deepest sympathy to his family through this challenging time.

06-17-2009 4:20 PM -- By: Matthew Daniel,  From: Connecticut  

Just a student from Stanford from the same era.  A small connection but enough to feel bad when I heard the news.  Sounds like he had a wonderful life.

06-17-2009 11:18 AM -- By: Jim Berry,  From: Oceanside, CA  

Sherry & Sarah, My sincerest condolences and prayers are with you. I have known Jerry since 7th grade and had some great times. We played together on the 9th grade "Y" team at Taft Junior High and also played together on the baseball team at Kearny High that won the 1971 CIF championship going 27-3. Best team in the county. I last saw Jerry at our 30th reunion in 2002. His accomplishments are very distinguished and I am sure you are as proud of him as most of us that knew him. I would like to hear from you. My e-mail address is BerryJ@san-clemente.org. God Bless you both.

06-16-2009 3:16 PM -- By: Christine Bogdanowicz,  From: Shoals Marine Lab/Cornell  

 Jerry was a great man and a great friend to the Shoals and to the planet. We will miss him both on Appledore at in NY.

With love,

Christine, aka: "Bufo"

06-15-2009 2:20 PM -- By: Dr. & Mrs. R.R. Rutter,  From: Emerald Hills, CA  

A Man that loved the Beatles' Yellow Submarine had to be a winner. I remember his watching while he was living in our Menlo Park, CA home, during a week while he was at Stanford.

06-15-2009 12:54 PM -- By: ,  From:  

Well, I am back again to try to do a better job of this.† I prepared some comments for the memorial service just in case.† They still don't do justice to the big guy, of course:
Hi, I am Kelly Smith, a proud FOJ.†Iíve given memorial addresses like this many times and Iíve even been told, oddly enough, that I have a flair for them.†Today is different, however.†Like many of you out there, Iíve spent the last four days trying to figure out what I could possibly say that would express the kind of man Jerry was.†And I just canít do it.
Fortunately, I at least had enough sense to create an online memorial for Jerry.†I think the collective wisdom of Jerryís many family and friends comes closer than any of us could do alone. Indeed, although I knew it would be popular, the sheer volume and breadth of the online outpouring took me by surprise and speaks volumes itself:† as of today (6/15) the website has been visited†well over 6,000†times!†There are†more than†370 entries in the guestbook and these represent something like 30 different states and 4 continents!†I knew Iíd never met anyone who didnít like Jerry, but I didnít fully realize that he was the nexus of a sizeable community - the community of Jerry.
I would like to encourage any of you who havenít visited the site yet to do so.†If you feel like it, go to the guestbook and leave a thought, a memory or a funny story about Jerry.†You can post what you say here today if you like.†If you have pictures to share, email them to me and I will put them up.†This is one very positive thing we can do, both to help overcome our own sense of loss and to create something truly special for the rest of the community of Jerry, especially Sherry and Sarah.
One of the things I admired about Jerry was his uncanny ability to always see the big picture.† He could size up any situation, whether it was an annoying colleague at a committee meeting or a student who just didn't seem to get something, and put his finger right on the essence of†the problem.††He never got†sidetracked by the unimportant details, which is one of the reasons he was so effective in so many different areas.†So I am going to try to channel Jerry now and say just two big pictury, things.
First, we should all keep in mind that grief and love are opposite sides of the same coin.†The more we grieve someoneís loss, the more we loved them.†Jerry is missed so much by so many people today precisely because he was such an incredible guy.†So when you grieve, I'd like you to try to spare a moment to think about how much poorer we would be if we had never known Jerry.†Grief is painful, but it does pass.†The people I feel truly sorry for are those who donít realize thereís anything special happening here today Ė they donít know it, but they really missed out!
Second, Jerry is dead but he doesnít have to be gone.†Certainly for myself, Jerry was an inspiration for me while he was alive and continues to be, maybe even more so, now.†So, I want to issue a challenge to the community of Jerry out there:†the next time you are at a loss with a particularly obtuse student or about to turn down a request to serve on an important committee or tempted to shortchange your family to finish a work assignment, just ask yourself:†What Would Jerry Do?†If the whole community of Jerry tries to channel him when we can, just think how much better the world would be.†And just think what a kick Jerry would have gotten out of making the world a better place†by changing the interpretation of "WWJD"!

06-15-2009 11:45 AM -- By: Ryan Davis ,  From:  

06-14-2009 8:33 PM -- By: David Roth,  From: San Diego & Stanford  

I first became acquainted with the legend of Jerry Waldvogel in high school. He played for the mighty Kearny and I for the lowly La Jola Vikings. A favorite of the local sports press, every week the game write ups had Jerry growing an inch in size and 10 lbs in weight from the previous week. I played against him once and got my first up close and personal look when he broke through the line on an option and I was the only thing between him and the goal line. Fortunately, Jerry wasn't much of a runner. Unfortunately, he was every inch and pound the writers described. I tackled Jerry on that play...actually Jerry ran into me and I grabbed his ankle and held on. I was on my back with his knee in my face. The next time I saw Jerry in a football uniform we were teamates on Stanford's freshman team. We were friends that freshman year. We played some music together. He took me fishing at his brother's place in Humbolt Cty. All great memories. After that we didn't see a lot of one another on The Farm. But we connected again when he was at Cornell. He was as sweet and quick to laugh as I'd remembered him; that everpresent twinkle in his eye. Smart, honorable, with a great sense of humor, I think of Jerry often and fondly, particularly when I'm out walking along the Delaware and a bird of prey circles overhead. They were a passion of his and now he soars with them. My heart is earthbound at this news. More evidence that the good truly do die too young.

06-14-2009 2:11 PM -- By: Dennis Young,  From: Stanford '76  

I met Jerry my freshman year.  He lived down the hall from me at Branner Hall.  It was not until several weeks later that I learned he was on the football team, (and I did not learn that from him, which told me a great deal about his humble personality.) 

I admired Jerry tremendously, as did many others in Branner.  He always knew what to say, what to do, how to act.  He was a mentor among peers, long before we even knew of such things.  I have proudly taken things I learned from him and applied them to my life, and to my family. 

Thank you, Jerry.  We will miss you, but we will never forget you.    

06-14-2009 3:20 AM -- By: John Olenchalk,  From: Dublin CA  

Our deepest sympathies, prayers and condolences to the Waldvogel family.  Jerry was always a class act as a teammate and a person.  It was truly a shock to learn of his untimely passing. 

John & Joy Olenchalk

06-13-2009 9:21 PM -- By: Scott Roth,  From: Burlingame, CA  

We all remember Jerry as the best of the 3 QBs in college and were big fans.

06-12-2009 9:13 PM -- By: ,  From:  

Jerry will always be fondly remembered within the Stanford community. My family and I were fortunate to have known him well during his time in Palo Alto.

I just ran a story on Jerry on TheBootleg.com, our Stanford sports website. Feel free to visit and read it - no subscription required.

May you find peace among heavenly forest birds, Jerry!


James B. Rutter \\\'86

Stanford Athletics Archivist

06-12-2009 9:10 PM -- By: Jim Rutter,  From: Stanford  

06-12-2009 7:23 PM -- By: Karen (Rutter) Weber,  From: Seattle, WA & Menlo Park, CA  

Well, since Mark & Alex already mentioned the famous "Quarterback Controversy"... I was a dingy little pre-teen when our family housed Mike Cordova, Guy Benjamin, and Jerry Waldvogel (at separate times) at our home.  That was, of course, before the football league disallowed such benefits to athletes.  My little brother, Jim (now the official archivist for Stanford football & feisty editor of "The Bootleg"), and I thought it was ever-so-cool to be boarding players.  Jerry developed a great friendship with our family, which lasted over these many years.  It was pretty stunning to receive the fax Dad just sent -- with Jerry's obituary & the link to this website.  My heart goes out to you, Sherry & Sarah.  I've loved reading up on all the other entries -- serving to confirm what I have long known, that Jerry Waldvogel was an unique & wonderful individual with a big heart, amazing brain, a magnet for great friends & colleagues, and a huge imprint on the world he has now left.  May his legacy of inspiration live on boldly in the many lives he has touched through his education and zeal.  May God grant you His peace and comfort as you mourn Jerry's passing, large doses of love from those surrounding you at this time, and great hope and adventures in the future.

06-12-2009 7:04 PM -- By: David Mauger,  From: Vallejo, CA  

High School.  On the team, first day practice, and there is a line of us running 10 yard patterns.  Very nervous.  I'm a Jr. and this will be the first time Jerry, (a senior),  throws to me, and if I am lucky, notices me.  I make a great catch and it breaks my middle finger.  Doh!   Jerry was The Man.  You could tell Coach Slater really cared about him.  

06-12-2009 4:31 PM -- By: Dan Wueste,  From: Clemson University  

Jerry Waldvogel was an amazing man.  It was a joy to work with him because he always brought enthusiasm, energy, and commitment to a project.  Talking with him was great fun, because he was wise and insightful, thoughtful and kind.  I admired Jerry and I will miss him very much.      




My deepest condolences to the family of a gentleman that I knew as a great Kearny High School Quarterback and played with my son Michael Mauger, now an educator and football coach at Redlands High School, Redlands, Ca.  Sometimes the Lord's choices are difficult to understand, but Jerry is in good hands. with the Lord and his father.

06-12-2009 2:37 PM -- By: Mike Mauger,  From: San Diego  

The entire Mauger family is saddened by the news of Jerry's passing.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his  mother, wife and family. 

I had an opportunity to speak with Jerry over the Christmas holiday and tried to quickly catch up after 37 years.  There was not enough time in the day.

Jerry was a great friend, teammate and leader that was always there for anybody at any time.  The Kearny family has truly lost a favorite son.  We are all better for having known him.

Mike Mauger
Kearny Komet 1972

06-12-2009 2:21 PM -- By: Mark Salata,  From: Formerly BSCS  

 I had the great fortune to work with Jerry during a summer institute for teachers at BSCS.  His presentation concerning evolution was informative and entertaining.  He seemed to greet everyone, including myself, during that institute as a newly found friend.  Given the closeness with which many of the BSCS staff work - like a second family - I am sure his contributions, kindness, and joyfulness will be more than sorely missed.

06-12-2009 12:04 AM -- By: Richard Arroyo,  From: Kearny 72  

Sorry to hear of his passing. He was a leader on tne football field as well as off.


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