Jerry was born in The Bronx, NY to Samuel and Miriam Klusky. To say that being a New Yorker was a great part of Jerry’s identity would be an understatement. However long he lived in California, he never lost his New York edge or his accent.
Jerry graduated from The Bronx High School of Science in 1959 and from Pace University in 1966 with a degree in Accounting. He then worked at Ernst and Ernst where he did public accounting and acquired his CPA license. Jerry worked at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City as an assistant to the CFO for eight years and started a family in Briarcliff Manor, NY. In 1978, Jerry accepted a job as CFO at Children’s Hospital in San Francisco and moved with his first wife and family to Novato, CA.
In 1982, after divorcing, Jerry became the CFO at John Muir Health Center in Walnut Creek, CA, living by the phrase, “if it doesn’t make dollars, it doesn’t make cents.” In 1983 he met Gayle (Breitbard). They married in 1985 and lived in Danville together for 20 years. After Jerry retired from John Muir, they moved to San Diego, Gayle’s hometown, where they lived for 18 years.
Jerry was a fan of telling jokes, the more groan-inducing, the better, often saying, “you’ll be telling all your friends tomorrow.” Jerry loved watching live sports like the San Francisco Giants, San Jose Sharks, and other Bay Area teams, and once he moved to San Diego, the Padres, Gulls, and San Diego State.
More than a numbers guy, he finished the Sunday crossword puzzle each week in record time, making copies so he and Gayle could compete. After some reluctance, Jerry learned to play bridge and he and Gayle played competitively, continuing online during the pandemic.
Jerry built models, Lego sets, and completed many puzzles with Gayle. He played many games and card games with his children and grandchildren, most memorably, Nok Hockey, Boggle, Backgammon, I Doubt It, and Fan Tan. Jerry knew many facts about sports, the theater, music and more. He liked to debate, often playing devil’s advocate.
Though hesitant at first, Jerry learned to love travel. They took Gayle’s high school Spanish classes to Spain; they cruised around Australia, Antarctica, South America and through the Mediterranean, and they toured Southeast Asia. Finally, just before the pandemic, they had a memorable trip to South Africa. He also met people through his travels, and made lifelong friends who became family. In addition to Jerry’s travels with Gayle, he loved planning family reunions in Park City and Palm Desert.
Jerry also had good friends from many years and places of his life--from his elementary and high school days, to his John Muir days, and while living in San Diego. He enjoyed talking to everyone he met, and had an innate curiosity and interest in their lives.
Jerry served as treasurer on the board of the San Diego Hall of Champions and later the San Diego Sports Association.
While the years of Jerry’s illness were difficult, he still looked forward to visits with family and friends, going to the Padres games, and eating his beloved Bronx Pizza.
Jerry is survived by his wife of 38 years, Gayle; his sons Lee (Beth), Adam (Barbara), and Neil (Kimberly); his stepchildren Nicole Gann (Josh) and Marc Lieberman; grandchildren Steven (Erin), Maizie, Jim, Garrett, Casey, Alissa, Tyler, Ilana, Rachel, Samuel, Leah, Joe, Emma, Taylor, and Micah; and great-grandchildren Brayden, Aria, Elizabeth, Colton, and Payton. Jerry is also survived by his first wife Marsha (Franz), his brother Larry, and by many beloved friends who were like family to him.
The funeral service was held on July 14, 2023 at El Camino Memorial Park, led by Rabbi Mathew Marko. Donations in Jerry’s memory are welcome at San Diego Hebrew Day School, Tifereth Israel Synagogue of San Diego, The San Diego Sports Association, The East County Youth Symphony, San Diego, or Jewish Family Service of San Diego.
Jerry Klusky Funeral
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