#8220;Do good, avoid evil; remember who you are and what you stand for; and watch out for the company you keep.#8221; #8211; a Jerry Mernin quote On December 13, 2011, the National Park Service (NPS) family and community lost a good friend when retired Ranger Gerald #8220;Jerry#8221; Mernin passed away from a massive brain hemorrhage. Although he suffered with Parkinson#8217;s disease for the past several years, Jerry#8217;s mind, wit, and memory remained unaffected to the end. A mentor and leader to the very end, Jerry showed us how to handle the debilitating disease with dignity and grace. #8220;We hired on to be rugged,#8221; he would remind new rangers to Yellowstone; he remained rugged to the very end. A #8220;Ranger#8217;s Ranger#8221; as one friend noted, Jerry developed his love for and passion to protect all that is wild at a very early age. Born to Emma and Gerald Mernin in Sacramento, California, Jerry spent his formative years in Yosemite National Park where his father was District Ranger. Raised on Park Service lore, Jerry had a deep understanding and a unique perspective of NPS operations that would serve him well during his long, distinguished NPS career. Upon graduation from Christian Brothers High School in Sacramento, California, Jerry was accepted and attended the University of Notre Dame, graduating with a Bachelor#8217;s degree in Economics. After graduation, he joined the Army and served state-side during the Korean War. He then attended Hastings College of Law in San Francisco, California. The deep love, high admiration and respect he had for his father was a determining factor in Jerry#8217;s decision to pursue his brilliant career with the NPS, rather than to continue working towards a law degree. In 1952, Jerry began his NPS career as a seasonal Fire Lookout at Pelican Cone in Yellowstone National Park. Other summer employment included stints at Glacier and Yosemite National Parks. His first permanent position with the NPS was Bryce Canyon National Park. After a brief time at Grand Canyon National Park, he returned to Yellowstone in 1964. Turning down promotion after promotion, he would remain in his beloved Yellowstone for the next 32 years until his retirement in 1996. His commitment to Yellowstone didn#8217;t end with retirement, however; he continued to volunteer and spend summers patrolling and protecting Yellowstone#8217;s backcountry until his health could no longer permit it. Throughout the remainder of his life, he would continue to be a strong advocate for Yellowstone#8217;s wilderness and preservation, sharing his thoughts and expertise with park management and others. In recent years, and with strong encouragement from friends and family, Jerry began writing his memoirs. A born story-teller, his decades of experience in Yellowstone gave him a lot of material to work with in tales of adventures, many involving his much-beloved horses and mules, and various other Yellowstone residents and visitors#8212;both the four-footed and two-legged variety. A founding member of the Bozeman Gypsy Rhythm Writer#8217;s Club, his shared stories were always a highlight of the evening. On a snowy morning in May 1971, Jerry met the woman he would love and spend the next 40 years of his life with. Patrolling in the Lake area, he noticed two vehicles carrying three #8220;very attractive women#8221; pull into the Lake Ranger Station. His future wife, Cindy, and the two friends were looking for the Lake Hospital where they would be working as nurses for the summer. He remembers thinking, #8220;Wow, there#8217;s really trouble for someone.#8221; Little did he know! By late fall, Jerry had proposed and Cindy had accepted; they would have celebrated their 40th anniversary on December 18, 2011. There are probably very few people who worked in Yellowstone during his tenure who did not at some point experience the warm hospitality of a cup of coffee and shared conversation at his table, along with a meal or some fresh baked goods (usually courtesy of Cindy, but which Jerry was always quick to claim credit for!). #8220;A gentleman and a scholar,#8221; Jerry exemplified both throughout his life. He was a connoisseur of wide-ranging interests, including any field skills relating to rangering and law enforcement, and (most recently), the source of the best #8220;biscuits and gravy#8221; in the Bozeman area. He had well-thought-out opinions about subjects ranging from the proper condition in which to leave a back country cabin to the only way to drink Rainier ale. He could always be counted on for some thoughtful and eloquent words in any situation. Even employees who never met him are likely to remember the sound of his deep and calm voice on the radio, no matter what sort of situation prompted his attention. He leaves a legacy in several generations of younger Park Rangers inspired by his example. Jerry is survived by his wife, Cindy; sister, Lynn Salley of Ashville, North Carolina; niece, Josephine Chandler of Ashville, North Carolina; nephews, Jerry Salley and Alfred Salley of Chapel Hill, North Carolina; and by the many extended NPS family and friends. Preceding Jerry in death are his parents, Emma and Gerald Mernin. A celebration of Jerry#8217;s life will be held at a future date. Donations in Jerry#8217;s memory can be made to the Yellowstone Park Foundation at their website, www.yps.org/ or by mail at 222 East Main Street, Suite 301, Bozeman, Montana 59715. Donations will be used to fund projects or programs that protect, preserve, and enhance Yellowstone National Park.