Gerald (Jerry) Olmstead was born December 8, 1928 to Vernon and Pearl Olmstead in
Chicago, Illinois. He passed away on December 31, 2019 at the age of 91, in Yuma,
During the depression, Vernon moved his family of 5, including Joyce, Jerry and Jane to
Remer, Minnesota, and then to Palmer, Alaska in 1935 during the government's
Matanuska Valley Settlement Project.
Jerry's family left Alaska in 1941, moving many different times during his school years
between Oregon, California, and Idaho. During these moves Jerry helped provide for the
family by raising a big garden and selling produce, raising turkeys, milking cows and
running a store where he learned to cut meat with his dad....a skill that came in handy
since Jerry liked to hunt and take care of his own game.
After his high school graduation in Orland, California the family moved to Lewiston,
Idaho where they had a sporting goods store and built cabins at a lake property.
He married Joanne Clark and they had two sons, Mike and Brad.
Jerry started a cabinet shop in Lewiston before serving in the Army during the Korean
Conflict. Upon his return he and his friend Duane Gage started building fiberglass
catamaran boats which he raced on the Snake River. Duane continued building boats
while Jerry started making survey stakes for road crews, boxes for fruit growers, and
stretcher bar for artists to stretch canvas on. He called his shop Orchards Wood
Products because it was located in the Lewiston Orchards. He actually used pine scrap
wood from mills for his raw material.
After marrying Linda Abbott in 1960 and having 2 sons, Paul and Mark, Jerry moved his
family to Baker, Oregon in 1963, where Jack Nash assured him of all the pine scrap wood
he would need. Baker Industries and Resources rented and later sold him a mill building
in South Baker.
Jerry and Linda had a third son, David, and a daughter, RaNae, and enjoyed boating,
fishing and camping with friends and family.
After retiring and selling Orchard Wood Products to Steve and Leanne Haberle, Jerry and
Linda sold their dream home and became full-time RVers until 2014. Despite his
pulmonary fibrosis, Jerry and Linda were able to spend time traveling and spent winter
months in Yuma, Arizona, and summers in Baker City.
Survivors include his wife, Linda, children, Paul (Pat), Mark (Lori Rising), David
(Christina), RaNae Huntting (Dennis), as well as 10 grandchildren and 8 great-
Jerry's family will hold a private memorial service for him in August.
Contributions in Jerry's memory may be made to a charity of one's choice.
Please share your thoughts and memories with the family by clicking on the “Share a
Memory” button at the left below Jerry’s picture.
To send flowers to Gerald's family, please visit our floral section.