05 December 2014

Jerry Arthur Sulliger (1 Nov. 1944 – 25 Nov. 2014)

Jerry Sulliger volunteering at BAHA’s Julia Morgan House Tour, 2 May 2010 (photo: Daniella Thompson)

It is with deep sorrow that we report the death of BAHA board member Jerry Sulliger, who passed away after a prolonged illness on Tuesday, 25 November 2014. He had been a BAHA member since 1998 and a director since 2004.

It is hard to overestimate the magnitude of Jerry’s behind-the-scenes contributions to BAHA. The important digital historic databases he created form the backbone of our daily research work. He donated numerous books and photographs, carried out seminal research work, and wrote articles on topics that would have stumped most other writers. In addition, Jerry was the historians’ historian—the person to whom we and all historians turned whenever we needed to separate fact from fiction.

Jerry began the monumental task of scanning the fragile Donogh real estate files of all Berkeley addresses, completing many streets before turning the task over to others. The file had special meaning to Jerry, as his mother had worked for Ormsby Donogh, and he was pleased to find a letter written by her in one of the folders.

Jerry was born in Los Angeles to Arthur and Gladys Sulliger. Both his father and his grandfather were engineers and Cal graduates (the grandfather graduated in 1900, the father in 1938). Jerry attended Bullard High School in Fresno, where he was a member of the California Scholarship Federation and of the student council.

He came to Berkeley as a UC student in the 1960s, majoring in Latin American Studies and History. Here he remained for the rest of his life, living on the Southside, in close proximity to the sites where the tumultuous events of the Free Speech Movement and the People’s Park protests took place.

For many years, Jerry managed the Shattuck Hotel, becoming an expert on its history. This interest grew to encompass all of Berkeley’s history, and as Jerry’s collections grew, so did his expertise. We are all the beneficiaries of his monumental work.

Rest in peace, Jerry. We miss you terribly.


Anonymous Carrie Olson said...

Jerry Sulliger - you are missed already. I never got to thank you properly for all you have done for the preservation community in Berkeley. But here, now, I thank you. May your work inspire others to get involved, and help us understand, research and catalogue information for future generations.

05 December, 2014 18:13  
Anonymous Susan Cerny said...

Jerry is the person who gathered so much of what BAHA has in digital format. He spent hours, months, years transferring old micro film to digital format. Without his many efforts, time, and tenacity we would not have much of the information BAHA has to share with the community.
I could never thank him enough. For those who never knew him he was quiet and shy. He was not a party goer! He did much around the MeCreary-Greer house I am not certain we even have a complete list.
After he got sick and could no longer participate in person he still helped out with research projects until finally he couldn't.
He was already missed even before he died.
I hope he knew how much we appreciated him. Susan Cerny

05 December, 2014 19:00  
Anonymous John English said...

Jerry surely will be missed. We should all appreciate and remember his patient and enormous contributions to BAHA. And my particular neighborhood was lucky to have him as a resident (he lived just a block away from my own place). He was a good friend to me, and I’ll always recall his cheerful standard greeting whenever I telephoned him: “John! What do you say, what do you know?”

06 December, 2014 11:52  
Anonymous Robert Johnson said...

Robert Johnson said...

I am very sorry to learn belatedly of Jerry's death. I was always deeply impressed with the quality and thoroughness of his research and extremely grateful for the help he provided when I was working on a landmark application.

03 January, 2015 10:17  

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