Jerry Wilkins DeCou III passed away peacefully with his wife by his side on June 11th at the age of 92. Jerry was a lifelong resident of Atascadero. He only had two short stints out of the county. He and his mom moved to San Jose for three years, where he graduated from Lincoln High School. He also served in the military at the start of the Korean Conflict, including serving time in Okinawa. Following his military service, he moved back to Atascadero and married Joyce (Elliott) in 1954, where he went to work at Hagle-DeCou Lumber. All four children, Jeanine, Jerry IV (Jay), Jeff, and John, were born and raised in Atascadero.
Jerry was the owner of DeCou Lumber and worked in the lumberyard industry for over 60 years, purchasing his father’s share in the business and later all remaining shares from the Hagle family following Ralph Hagle’s death. He was active in the Tri-County Lumberman’s Association serving twice as President and was a director and later President of the Northern California Lumber Merchants Association.
Jerry was an avid hunter and sportsman and was a life member of the San Lucia Sportsman Association. In 1960, he was appointed to the San Luis Obispo County Fish & Game Fine Committee and served in that capacity for over 20 years, including four years as Chairman. He loved golfing, boating, and water skiing and spent many summers at Atascadero Lake, Nacimiento Lake, Shasta Lake, and Lake Powell with family and friends. Jerry could frequently be found at the 19th hole of the Atascadero Golf Course and participated in many golf charity and fundraising events. He and Joyce traveled extensively around the world and viewed forests and building industries of Guatemala, Costa Rica, Mexico, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, along with Alaska and Hawaii. They also traveled to Europe, behind the “Iron Curtain,” and were one of the first foreign travelers to visit China in the 1970s. After his retirement from DeCou Lumber, he and Joyce enjoyed traveling in their motorhome with the Elks Roadrunner’s Club and with friends.
Jerry was very active in the community. He was a charter member of the Atascadero Jr. Chamber of Commerce, serving as President and working to chair the 4th of July fireworks display and the Atascadero’s 50th Birthday Celebration, which was the prototype for today’s Colony Day. He was also on the Board of Directors for the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce and was awarded a life membership. He was a member of the Atascadero Rotary Club for 65 years and served as President. He was on the Board of Directors of Atascadero Federal Credit Union (Coast Hills today) for 24 years and served 16 years as President and, following that, was the Chairman of the Board for Santa Lucia Bank. Jerry also served on the San Luis Obispo County Grand Jury.
Jerry is survived by his wife of 68 years, Joyce; his four children, Jeanine (Don) Walters, Jay (Babette), Jeff (Kathy), John (Ladonna); eleven grandkids Lynsey, Christopher, Joel (Gretchen), Robert (Jeena), Teressa (Scott), Jenna, Steven, Andrew (Paige), Katie (Austin), Sara, Heather (Aaron) and ten great-grandchildren. The family would like to thank the staff at Garden View Inn and Hospice for the loving care they gave to Jerry in his final year. Arrangements are being made by Marshall Spoo Funeral Chapel, Grover Beach. There will be a Celebration of Life on July 3rd at 11:00 at the Atascadero Elks Club. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to either Hospice of San Luis Obispo County or the Rotary Club of Atascadero Inc. “Scholarship Fund.”