Warrior Memories: Gerry Hemmingsen, the athlete – Part two

By Dick Trone January 23, 2009 08:03 am
Last week I started a two-part column about Gerry Hemmingsen.

Gerry was an outstanding Warrior athlete in the late 1960s. His feats on the gridiron and on the wrestling mat are still remembered by old Warrior fans.

After graduating from Del Norte in 1970, where he still holds the career rushing record, Gerry went to College of the Siskiyous in Weed to continue his football career.

He said it was a tough choice between Siskiyous and College of the Redwoods in Eureka, but Siskiyous won out. While at Weed he continued his career as an outstanding runner. He had several 200-plus-yard rushing games, which is outstanding at any level.

One game that stands out in his memory is a game against Redwood. Gerry ran for over 250 yards in the game but his team still lost in a close contest.

After the game the question was how can you rush for that many yards and lose. It does happen and it just happens that at that time Redwoods was one of the top junior college programs in the state.

After finishing at Siskiyous, Gerry and a teammate, Craig Bray, received full scholarships to the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. The school at that time had an astroturf field — the old kind which was just thin carpet over asphalt. Gerry earned the starting fullback position, but with his history of knee problems, he knew would not hold up on that surface.

Gerry returned to Crescent City in 1973 and “married the love of my life” and they are still happily together. They have two children of their own, Jeremy  and Hilary, who teaches at Redwood School in Fort Dick. Gerry and his wife Luanna also raised a nephew and two nieces after their parents were killed in a tragic accident.

When Gerry first came back to Crescent City he worked for a short time at Standard Veneer, but decided that mill work was not his thing. He bought a concrete company which he owned for 11 years before selling.

He then went to work for his  father Dick Hemmingsen, who owned Mor-Jon Inc. He took over that business when his dad retired and recently bought Napa Auto Parts, which operates in the Mor-Jon building. Gerry also owns the fishing vessel “The Pollux.” which for a time was the only drag still operating here.

Recently, Gerry was elected to the County Board of Supervisors, and knowing him we will be well served. He is a class act.

Dick Trone writes on his reflections and the history of Del Norte High Warrior sports. Trone, who played football for the Warriors, had an illustrious  career on the gridiron at Humboldt State University. Trone was head football coach at Del Norte High for a number of years before retiring.