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George Charles Haley

May 1, 1936 ~ March 1, 2019 (age 82)

Clyde - Gerald Charles Haley passed away on March 1st, 2018 with his daughter, Becky by his side. He was 82. Jerry was born in Omaha, Nebraska on May 1st, 1936 to Charles and Ellen Haley. He had one brother, Ed, and two sisters, Mary Ellen and Susan. He enjoyed being a part of very large extended family in Omaha. After graduating from Creighton University in Omaha, he eventually began his life long career working for the Social Security Administration. Along the way he met and married the love of his life, Rita. They had four children: Mike and Becky, and Rachel and Laura who both died at birth.

Jerry moved his family to Marshalltown, Iowa in the early 70’s. There he embraced the running craze of the 70’s and ran and completed several marathons as well as numerous road races. He also enjoyed riding his bike for miles and miles in the Iowa countryside. After the death of Rita in 1989 he moved to Ottumwa, Iowa, before retiring in 2003. 

In 2008, Jerry moved to the mountains of WNC to be close to his daughter Becky, her husband Steve, and his two beloved granddaughters Jesse and Austin. Jerry took immediately to the mountains. He would spend some days joyriding on the Blue Ridge Parkway, enjoying the views, picnicking with Jesse and Austin, and taking enough photos of the mountains to last a lifetime. He also loved sitting on Becky and Steve’s back porch in the summertime and often corralled his granddaughters long enough to take their photos as well. Jerry was also the ultimate train spotter.  He leaves behind a vast collection of train photographs spanning several decades. In his youth, Jerry worked the rails in Omaha like his father before him, and he visited the train yards in Canton regularly.

Jerry also volunteered at the Folk Art Center and the Southern Highland Craft Fair in Asheville, and loved sharing stories with visitors. Maybe he loved the mountains because they spoke to some deep sense of place; he was a second generation Irishman, and you could tell. He loved beer, Irish folk tunes, and bending the ear of anyone who would listen. His sharp wit and political opinions could keep him talking for hours.

There’s more to say about this dear, sweet, man than could ever fit in this obituary; he was whip-sharp, funny, and endlessly generous. He was well loved by many, including his two cats, and we should all raise a pint for Gerald Charles Haley tonight.

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