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Gerald Matt
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Gerald W. 'Jerry' Matt, 63, died Dec. 31, 2008 surrounded by loving family and friends.

Mr. Matt was born in Escalon to Casey and Opal Matt. He attended Dent Elementary with a short lived stint as a Boy Scout, but he went on to distinguish himself at Escalon High School, graduating in June 1962, where he met success as a member of the Escalon Future Farmers of America, bringing home the trophy for the state championship in Economic Entomology Judging with his team.

He held a lengthy career in law enforcement. He began by taking coursework in criminal justice at Modesto Junior College in the fall of 1962, only to be interrupted by the call of duty. In August 1963 he joined the United States Army, quickly displaying his leadership by assuming command of a launcher platoon in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis. He received commendations for his outstanding performance of duty during a period of peril in our country's history. He was honorably discharged having achieved the rank of Sergeant.

He returned to his studies at Modesto Junior College completing his Associates of Arts degree in Administration of Justice. In 1969, he began his law enforcement career as a reserve deputy for Stanislaus County. He was hired in 1970 as a Ceres police officer, but returned to the Sheriff's office as a full time deputy in 1971. When the Stanislaus County Drug Enforcement Agency was formed in 1975, he joined the team. In 1982, he began work with drug sniffing canines and later branched into a partnership establishing Kontraband Interdiction and Detection Services, Inc., a community based drug consultant business offering education to schools and businesses. He was a founding member and past president of the California Narcotics Canine Association.

After a career full of awards and commendations, he retired from the County in April 2000. Fishing full time became his new passion as he took great pleasure in teaching others the fine points of catching kokanee salmon as captain of "Dogfish Expeditions." He fought strongly to sustain the fisheries through his work with Kokanee Power, California Striped Bass Association, and Trout Unlimited. He served as a church council member of Saron Lutheran Church with the same intensity and zeal. He found meaning and purpose in all that he did when he made God's love for us the reference point of his life. It brought him immense joy to witness the recent arrival of his first born grandchild.

He is survived by his wife, Jenlane Gee Matt; son, Tim Matt; daughter, Cassie (Dan) Micheletti; sister, Claudia Matukitis; mother, Opal Matt; sister, Debbie (Dan) Herrera; brother, Greg Matukitis; and all their families; and grandchild, Hayden Daniel Micheletti.

A memorial and celebration of his life will be held on his birthday, Jan. 17 at 10:30a.m. at Saron Lutheran Church, 1742 North St., Escalon, to be followed immediately by a luncheon at the Activity Center of the Trinity Church Assembly of God, 1906 California St., Escalon.

In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to one of his favorite causes: Stained Glass Window Project, c/o Saron Lutheran Church, 1742 North St., Escalon, CA 95320; or Community Hospice; Salvation Army; Modesto Gospel Mission; Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; Trout Unlimited; American Cancer Society; or to a favorite charity of your own.

The Escalon (Calif.) Times

Jan. 14, 2009