Gerald “Jerry Shore” Kenneth Roach, 76, of Idyllwild, died Thursday, March 6, 2008, at Desert Regional Medical Center of lung cancer.

He was born Jan. 1, 1932 in Denver to Annie and Floyd Roach.

Jerry had lived in Idyllwild 12 years and for 10 years prior in Laguna Beach, always by the ocean. He was known throughout Idyllwild as Santa Jerry.

He served in the Korean War in the U.S. Air Force in Alaska.

Jerry was co-owner of 1st Place Realty, and also had worked at W.R. Grace and for the Nashua Corporation.

He was educated as a librarian, a theologian and a historian, and had been president of the Memory and Reality Foundation. He was an avid reader, and won the state spelling bee in Nebraska where he lived for many years.

Jerry was a violinist and vocalist and, with his children and wife, introduced folk music at their church.

Jerry was a member of the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce.

He was a lecturer in the Catholic Church. He was honored for his work with Cuban refugees.

Jerry taught theology to his students, as well as world history. In 1989, he and his wife co-chaired the Harmonia Mundi Conference Merchandising Division in Newport Beach where he met the Dalai Lama and practiced the peaceful movement.

He loved Idyllwild and the mountains because it reminded him of his birthplace in Denver.

Jerry began his Santa Claus career in 1989, and in 1994, he and his wife performed their Santa and Sadie Claus for the White House. They appeared several years at Christmas time on several TV shows as the real Santa and Sadie Claus.

A funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, March 15, at the American Legion Post 800 with the Rev. Dr. Betty Jandl officiating. Refreshments will be served.

A military ceremonial burial is at 11 a.m. Monday, March 17, at Arlington National Cemetery in Riverside. Call Eileen at 659-9636 for confirmation.

Jerry is survived by his wife of 20 years, Eileen Ellison Shore; a son, Tommy Roach of Oregon; three daughters, Cecelia Marie of Phoenix, Sheryl Ann of Oregon and Marla Jean of Long Beach; two sisters, Darline Hindman and husband Ron of Jacksonville, Ala., and Bonita Payden of Santa Maria; three grandchildren, Annie Marie, Krystal Johnson and Nicole Greer; and a great-grandchild, Cody Greer.