Obituary: Jerald Bert Laird
Beloved patriarch, U.S. Navy veteran, construction company executive, outdoorsman, sharpshooter
Jerald Bert Laird, of Rancho Cucamonga, left for a joyous reunion with his parents, sister and extended family on December 23, 2020.
He was born February 12, 1935 in Jesup, Iowa, to Ralph and Sarah Laird, the youngest of three children.
Soon after his birth, the young family moved to La Verne. When he was younger, “Jerry” had all sorts of adventures, most notably when Buster the mule inexplicably found himself in the house, much to the chagrin of mother Laird.
He loved to race his hot rod around town, and was quite popular with the La Verne Police Department. It’s probably best that we leave it at that.
He graduated from Bonita High School in La Verne in 1953, where he was senior class president and was dating his sweetheart, Nancy Gaston. They were married after graduation and started their family in La Verne. After their first daughter Terri was born in 1955, they moved to Claremont, where two more girls, Linda and Heidi, soon followed.
Mr. Laird served in the U.S. Naval Construction Battalion, aka the Seabees.
In 1955 he and his brother Jim joined the family construction business, Laird Paving, which later changed its name to Laird Construction Co., Inc. Under his guidance, Laird Construction would grow to be a highly respected and successful general engineering contractor.
Mr. Laird worked in the construction industry for more than 60 years. He willingly shared his vast knowledge by serving on numerous boards, committees and industry organizations, most recently the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Council and the University of La Verne.
He loved the outdoors and was an avid hunter and outdoorsman; he particularly liked to shoot trap and skeet. He excelled at it and won many sharpshooting medals. Chasing Upland game birds was a natural extension, and he’d go as often as time permitted. He was also known to chase that elusive duck around the world.
“Jerry will be remembered for his quick smile, willingness to listen, his tenderness, his whistle that called his girls home, and his love for and of his family,” his family shared. “He will be missed by all that knew him.”
Mr. Laird was preceded in death by his father, mother and sister.
He is survived by his wife Nancy; daughters Terri Duval (Jeff), Linda Parsons (Ron) and Heidi Hunter (Gordon); brother Jim Laird (Corky); grandchildren Michael Dovey (Jennifer), Nicholas Dovey (Emily), Lauren Leslie (Clay), Ross Parsons (Mya), Ashley Gordon (Ryan) and Heather Hunter Rodriguez (Sergio); and eight great grandchildren.
The family will be having a private graveside service at La Verne Cemetery and will host a celebration of Mr. Laird’s life sometime in the future.