It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Jerome “Jerry” Harwin of Santa Barbara, beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend to many. He passed away peacefully in his sleep on July 1, 2012, with family by his side.
He was born on Oct. 22, 1911, one of a pair of identical twins, in Fargo, N.D. At age 3, his family moved to Minneapolis, Minn., and later, at age 12, moved to Los Angeles.
Harwin attended the Wilton Peace Grammar School, John Burroughs Junior High School (where he was valedictorian of his class) and then attended Los Angeles High School. He enrolled in the School of Commerce, where he majored in accounting at the University of Southern California.
In 1935, Harwin married his first wife, Bess Miller, and worked in the retail jewelry trade as a sales person. In 1938, they moved to La Crosse, Wis., where Harwin managed his uncle’s jewelry store. It was during this period (five years) that Harwin earned his Eagle Scout badge and served as a first mate of the Sea Scout Ship and president of the B’nai B’rith Lodge.
In 1943, Harwin and family moved to Ventura, where he managed the Hamilton Diamond Company. He also enlisted in the U.S. Merchant Marines during this time, and served overseas on the Alcoa Pennant. He received honorable discharge from the U.S. Coast Guard in 1944.
In late 1944, Harwin and his twin brother, Lionel, bought a small leather goods store on State Street in Santa Barbara and opened Harwin Jewelers. Later the following year, Lionel moved to San Jose and opened a Harwin Jewelers there.
Harwin’s leadership in Santa Barbara has been prolific, with too many honorary roles to list them all, but it is important to share some of his highlights. During his first year in Santa Barbara, he became a member of the Santa Barbara Lions Club, and in 1953 served as president. Two years later, he was elected district governor of all the Lions clubs in the Tri-Counties area. The following year he was elected exalted ruler of Elks Lodge No. 613.
Harwin was an active sports enthusiast and served with his closest friend, Caesar Uyesaka, in managing the establishment of the Santa Barbara Dodgers baseball team.
For his outstanding support of athletics programs at UCSB, he was voted in as an honorary alumni. He and Uyesaka founded the original UCSB Gaucho Hoop Club, and together with Uyesaka and Bill Bertka founded the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table.
Harwin’s most memorable legacy would have to be his establishment of Las Positas Park, now known as Elings Park — the largest privately funded public park in America, transforming 100-plus acres of a city dump into a beautiful and active park with ball fields, play and picnic areas, a Vietnam War veterans living memorial and more. The road to get into the park is appropriately named Jerry Harwin Parkway.
Harwin was preceded in death by his twin brother, Lionel, his sister, Irene, his first wife, Bess, his second wife, Sylvia, his daughter in-law, Barbara, and his grandson, Howard. Survivors are his two sons, Edward (Indu) and Joel (Linda), Robin Satnick (David), Scott (Hollanda) and Myla Harwin, and great-grandchildren Jered, Sean, Ilana, Jason, Mariah, Alix, Evan and Connor.
In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to any of the following: Elings Park Foundation (Harwin Legacy) P.O. Box 30818, Santa Barbara, CA 93130-0818; the Santa Barbara Lions Club; the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, P.O. Box 3813 Santa Barbara, CA 93130; or B’nai B’rith Temple, 1000 San Antonio Creek Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93111.
Memorial services and burial will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 5 at Santa Barbara Cemetery, 901 Channel Drive. The family will be receiving guests immediately after the service at the B’nai B’rith Temple, 1000 San Antonio Creek Road.