Sadly, Gerald “Jerry” Progner lost his long battle with cancer on March 14, 2020.
His final days were spent at home, surrounded by his family: wife Elizabeth Darcy; children, Diane Crossfield (Matt) of Kentucky, Courtney Progner Morrow (Robert) and Ryan Progner (Sara) of Mariposa, step-daughter, Mary Darcy of Oregon; brother, Fred Progner (Madeline) of Escondido; and nephew Freddy Progner (Elizabeth) of Lakeside. He will also be greatly missed by his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Jerry was born in Yonkers, N.Y., on Dec. 23, 1946 to Fred and Kathlyn Progner. He and his family later moved to Louisville, Ky., where he completed school. In 1964, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, attended RTC Great Lakes, located on Lake Michigan in Illinois and served on the USS Truxton (CGN-35) and the USS Robinson during the Vietnam War.
Following his military service, Jerry attended Grossmont College and the University of California, Davis, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Soil Science. He later accepted a position with U.S. Department of Agriculture, which brought him to Mariposa in 1980, where he had a 30-year career.
During that time he also served as the Mariposa County grading inspector, inspecting thousands of grading projects throughout the county, helped train 27 Resource Conservation Board members and organized and executed 24 RCD Tree Sales events.
In 1988, Jerry married Elizabeth Darcy at the Mariposa Methodist Church; the beginning of a nearly 32 year union.
He spent his years in Mariposa volunteering as a Little league coach, Mariposa Elementary School PTA President and member and Little League baseball umpire. He was a Life Member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and past commander of the Thomas Jenkins VFW Post 9454 in Coulterville and served on the Mariposa County Agriculture Advisory Committee, Mariposa County Resource Conservation District Board, the Midpines Community Planning Committee, the Economic Development Committee and the Mariposa County Fire Safe Council. He also volunteered his time to the FFA and 4-H.
Jerry was an instrumental facet in the creation of many influential projects including Mariposa County’s first Conservation Easement, the Mariposa Middle School Outdoor Classroom, the Oak-Woodland Guidelines, the Reclamation Plan for the Agua Fria Slate Quarry, the County Grading Ordinance, the NRCS Boot Camp Program, the Yosemite/Sequoia RC&D, the Upper Merced Watershed and the Federal Friday Program. In 2006, he volunteered as an elections poll worker in the Midpines precinct, something he continued to do through 2018.
He enjoyed reading about and visiting historic sites. In 1998 he joined The Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus Matuca Chapter 1849 and was an active participant in the dedication of over 30 historic sites in California and Nevada. His Clamper brothers will always remember him playing his harmonica and cooking at several ECV events.
After his retirement in 2006, he committed his time to providing childcare for his three granddaughters; time he always said made him the lucky one. Jerry always enjoyed a day on the golf course with his friends and was an avid and knowledgeable baseball fan. He never missed a San Francisco Giants game or his granddaughters’ Mariposa Girls Softball League games. He was a proud patriot and loved the United States of America. Jerry is already sorely missed.
A celebration of Jerry’s life will be held when public gatherings are permitted.