Jerry was my great-uncle; my paternal grandmother’s brother. I only met him a handful of times but I remember he was very nice and kind, and cheery. I am sad for my family’s loss. -Taja
Almost everybody in Willapa Harbor knew Jerry Roper, primarily because of his 21-year career driving bus for Pacific County Transit. When people would enter the bus looking glum, he would greet them with a rhyme, trying to make their day brighter.
Jerry was born August 16th, 1942 in Webbers Falls, Oklahoma and died on April 15th, 2016 at the Tacoma General Hospital from a stroke.
Jerry, with help from a friend Cathy Russ, wrote a book of country poems entitled “Memories in Rhyme” published in 2010. He was a natural entertainer and with his deep voice entertained many, reciting his works.
Jerry’s parents, Lonnie and Ethel Roper, now deceased, lived in McFarland, California. His only brother, Walter, is now deceased. He is survived by four sisters, Lavern Collins of Sanger, CA, Marveline Brown of Nederland, TX. Maxine Beiber of Bakersfield, CA and Arlene Roper of Riverside, CA. He is survived by his wife, Myrna Roper, two daughters, Kelly Roper of Tacoma and Terri Payne of Bellingham, three stepsons, Brian (Barbara), Kevin and Steven Lorentzen of Raymond, grandson Kevin Jaeger of Aberdeen, granddaughter Kylie Payne, and twin grandsons Nate and Nash Payne all of Bellingham. Also surviving are numerous nieces and nephews.
Jerry graduated from McFarland High School in 1960. He served in the US Air Force from ’61 through ’65 and two years in the Air Force Reserve. He sold insurance in California, worked at Intalco aluminum plant near Bellingham as well as Value Mart and Sears where he met his wife Myrna whom he married in 1976. They moved to Willapa in 1978 to the family farm bordering the Willapa River. Over the years they raised and sold cattle, horses, pigs, goats, rabbits and chickens. They bought a feed store and general store, Jerry even had two pony ring rides in Long Beach and at #Wild Waves park. He also ran a shop in Yard Birds in Chehalis selling collectibles. Jerry was also a member of the American Legion Post #150 in Raymond.
Jerry credited Will Rogers as his inspiration. He remembered going to the memorial in Claremont, Oklahoma. He put a nickel in a machine to get a penny back that was stamped with his motto “I never met a man I didn’t like.” He tried to pattern his life after that. He followed his career and saw him perform whenever he could. That’s where he got a lot of his humor. Jerry will truly be missed.
At his request there will be no funeral services held at this time. Any donations may be made in Jerry’s name to the Seattle Children’s Orthopedic Hospital P.O. Box 5371/OA.9.120.1, Seattle, WA 98145-5005; or the Pacific County Historical Society & Museum, P. O. Box P, South Bend, WA 98586.