Jerry returned to Crescent City, where his parents and sister Gracie (Cooper) lived, and where he used his bartending talents to work in the B & E restaurant and lounge, which his parents owned. Jerry was smitten by the lovely Gertrude Jepsen of Fort Dick, who was the love of his life until his last breath. He first saw Gertie as a young girl at her parent’s dairy ranch when his parents came to purchase milk for Zottola’s Cheese Factory, which was later to become Rumiano’s. A famous story told in the Zottola house is how Pop chased Mom, she in her red Ford convertible, and he in the school bus he was driving as his day job. He finally caught her and they were married Oct. 9, 1955.
Jerry spent 30 years teaching history at Del Norte High School and is known by many of his former students as “Zott” and his baseball players as “Hubba-Hubba.” He began teaching in the old high school and was the first tennis coach. His most memorable years at Del Norte High were those coaching baseball, especially in 1977, when the league championship was lost in the final innings. He would often share his memories of and fondness for the young men he coached and students he taught, who in later years would stop by the house to say hello and thank him for the influence he had in their lives. There are too many to name in this remembrance, but know that he cherished each of your kind words or memories you shared. He also enjoyed the years he spent retired and working in his 10,000-square-foot garden with Gertie and all the vegetables they grew. Even with a house full of kids and their friends, they still had an abundance to share with friends and to sell to local merchants and restaurants.
Jerry is survived by Gertrude and their seven children, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren: son Tony Zottola of Lodi, Calif.; daughter Tina O’Neill (Jeffrey) of Hiouchi, Calif.; daughter Gretchen Zottola-Sancier (Gregory) of Campbell, Calif.; daughter Tami Zottola of Gasquet, Calif.; son Timothy Zottola of Stockton, Calif.; daughter Trudi Gugliemini (Richard) of Hiouchi, Calif.; and daughter Gina Zottola of Gasquet, Calif; grandchildren: Talia (Ozzie) Arazm, Tyler Zottola (Desiree), Riley, Justin, and Kylie Zottola; Grant and Mitchell Sancier; Mersedes Zottola; Brittney, Amanda, and Lucas Gugliemini; great-grandchildren: Ella and Avery Arazm and Ashton and Tristen Zottola.
Jerry is also survived by his loving sister Gracie Cooper of Crescent City and multiple nieces and nephews.
Jerry had a smile and graciousness for everyone he met. There was no better man, friend, father or husband. We will miss you, Pop. Take two and hit to the right. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to the Del Norte Scholarship Foundation in Gerardo’s name c/o Del Norte Scholarship Foundation, 125 Cable Lane, Crescent City, CA 95531
A Memorial Mass will be held at St. Joseph Catholic Church on Saturday, Nov. 30, at 11 a.m. Family and friends are invited for fellowship following services at the family home.
Please sign the family’s online guest book at wiersmortuary.com.
Arrangements are under the direction of Wier’s Mortuary Chapel.