Ralph Schlagenhauf

1 June 1945 - 5 February 2023

Under: Obituary
Ralph Schlagenhauf

Petaluma, California - Jerry (Ralph Jared) Schlagenhauf, June 1, 1945 - February 5, 2023.

On Sunday, February 5, Jerry Schlagenhauf transitioned from our world with great bravery, grace and peace, in the comfort of his own home. His sons Kyle and Erik were holding his hands, his wife Ann was near and he was surrounded by the love and support of his adoring family.

Jerry was born June 1, 1945, in Bluffton, Indiana to Harriet (Bickel) Schlagenhauf and Ralph Schlagenhauf; older brother to Gary Schlagenhauf. Jerry was a fiercely passionate and strongly opinionated dreamer, philosopher, performer, educator and lover of music, theater, culture, and life. Family was his biggest pride in life, and he could bend an ear sharing the accomplishments of his two sons, grandchildren, and those he loved and admired.

Jerry hailed from a long lineage of Schlagenhaufs who emigrated to Indiana from Germany. At the age of 5, his parents left the family farm and moved across the country to California, settling in Modesto where Jerry was raised and graduated from Thomas Downey High School. In high school, Jerry was an avid performer in theater and musicals, and it was an on-stage kiss during his senior-year performance of You Can't Take It With You that he met and fell in love with the star of his world, Ann Louise Fairbairn.

Following his senior year in high school, Jerry spent a year abroad in Switzerland at the Gymnasium Hofwil in Munchenbuchsee, Bern as an American Field Service. This was one of the most formidable events of his life and opened his world to travel, exploring new cultures and international community. Throughout his life Jerry remained in close contact with his Swiss family and celebrated and shared his love of Swiss culture, traditions, and foods with everyone in his life.

Jerry returned from Switzerland and married Ann Louise on September 17, 1966. Upon her first glance of Jerry, she knew he was different and that he would take her to new and 'far away' places. Indeed, Jerry and Ann traveled the world, living abroad and working with the International School in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and traveling with their first-born son Kyle throughout SE Asia. They returned to the US for Jerry to attend graduate school at Rutgers University and Ann gave birth to their second son, Erik. In 1979, Jerry and Ann left the U.S. again, this time for Saudi Arabia, where Jerry worked in Education with ARAMCO - Arabian American Oil Company. While living in Saudi, Jerry and Ann traveled with their sons throughout Europe and Asia - Switzerland, Italy, Turkey, and India and made annual treks home to Modesto, CA, and the Central California Coast.

Jerry held a BA Philosophy, from UC Davis and MA, MPhil Philosophy, Rutgers University and was a teacher, educator, and compassionate counselor throughout his life. He loved learning and discussing education, philosophy, music, theater, and global affairs. He was a consummate reader, who enjoyed learning of others' cultural traditions and ideas, and was particularly fascinated with and open to exploring his own spirituality journey.

Ann and Jerry returned from Saudi Arabia in 1987 and created a beautiful home in Edmonds, WA filled with treasures and art from their travels. Jerry sang with the Seattle Choral Company for nearly 20 years - which filled his heart with such joy and love; and they held season tickets to the Seattle Opera and Intiman Theatre.

After retiring, Jerry's health began to decline, and he and Ann returned to California to be closer to family. They sold their home in Edmonds and moved to Petaluma, CA, into a beautiful, custom built tiny-home, sharing the land and gardens of their son Erik and his wife. Jerry loved planting succulents, watering the garden, and spreading CA Poppy seeds across every spare inch of their property. He delighted in having family and friends gather and share meals on the big deck of their tiny home. Jerry's time in Petaluma was cut too short by a weakening heart, but his memories and joy will continue to live on. He leaves a rich legacy of learning, appreciating art, theater, music and travel - and reaching for one's greatest dreams.

Jerry is survived by the love of his life and wife of 56 years, Ann (Fairbairn) Schlagenhauf, sons Kyle (Amber) and Erik (Brenna), grandchildren Cirque and Ciel Schlagenhauf (Kyle and Amber), and brother Gary Schlagenhauf.

The Schlagenhauf family wishes to acknowledge and thank Hospice of Petaluma for their kindness, support, and wonderful care of Jerry and family.

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