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Jerry E. Jandt, 1938-2009

A founder of Goleta's BEI, Industrial Encoder Division, battled cancer for seven years

Jerry E. Jandt, born in Burbank on September 7, 1938, died quietly at his Santa Barbara home on November 5, 2009, after a seven-year battle with colon cancer. He was 71. He had his family around him as he passed.

Jerry Jandt
Jerry Jandt

Jerry attended Burbank High and served in the Air force in Japan, where he was also a member of the Triumph Motorcycle Club of Japan. He married his wife of 32 years, Ann Derk, originally of Iron Mountain, Mich., in 1977.  He was sales manager and operations manager of Renco Encoders in the early 1970s. Jerry was a founder of BEI, Industrial Encoder Division in Goleta and served as its original vice president and general manager. He spent 18 years building the division into a very successful enterprise and retired in 1995.

Jerry had diverse interests and loved to keep busy. He was a pilot, and a ham radio operator (KD6YPB) who was often on the air. He was an avid photographer, RVer, boater, diver and fisherman, with boats Refugio and Knot-Yet in the Santa Barbara Harbor and the Thunderbird at his Palapa in Tripui, Loreto, Mexico, where he loved to spend weeks at a time.

Very computer savvy, he posted information and pictures on his blog and was very open and courageous communicating about his battle with cancer, posting his progress at regular intervals. He was also very supportive of his wife’s antique business. He spent much time traveling with his wife in a specially designed RV, hunting for treasures around the country. Jerry was an amazingly strong-spirited individual, who remained extremely active even as his disease progressed, never giving in to depression or self-pity and always finding ways to remain engaged.

He leaves behind a loving wife Ann (Betsy), brother Harry T. “Tom” Jandt of Indio, daughter Jennifer Jandt-Holzer and son-in-law Jeff Holzer of Goleta, son Eric Jandt and Photini (Tina) Varkonyi of Berwyn, Ill., step-son Dirk Dole and wife Samantha of Atascadero, and five grandchildren: Jake, Matt, Selena, Grayson and Douglas and loving sidekick Annie, his golden retriever. He was preceded in death by his mother, Marge Jandt of Burbank, who passed away in 2006.

The family would like to extend thanks to Natalia Bliss, caregiver for the last three months of his battle and Hospice of Santa Barbara, which helped to make the last few days more comfortable and enabled Jerry to spend that time at home with family.

In lieu of flowers it is the family’s wish that anyone wanting to remember Jerry take a friend or a loved one out to dinner and celebrate the value of relationships. Information on a memorial celebration will be communicated privately. Notes to the family may be sent to his daughter at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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