|2009 Grand Marshal|
Each year the Grand Marshal is selected by the Irrigation Festival Committee as someone who has made significant contributions to the community.
Jeri Smith was born to Pearl and Clair Gilchrist in Sequim. She has two brothers, Ken and Roger and one sister, Leah. Her family moved away during Jeri’s sophomore year, but she returned to attend Sequim High School for her senior year and graduated in 1967. In high school Jeri took mostly business related classes, was a founding member of the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), and played the bass clarinet in the band.
Jeri met and married her husband Ron in 1967. A few years later Ron started his construction company and she took business courses so she could to the books. They have 4 children. Sheri (Huisman), Der, and Josh live in Sequim, and Matt, lives in California. As her children were growing up, she worked as a teacher’s aid at her children’s school. Jeri and Ron now have 9 grandchildren.
They moved to Lynden in the ‘90’s where Ron worked as an electrician and Jeri began working as office manager/bookkeeper at the Lynden Chamber of Commerce. They moved back to Sequim in 1998 and Jeri went to work for the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Jeri has worked for the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce for over 10 years and has seen lots of changes over those years – 4 different executive directors and new board members each year. She feels that the “diversity of the board and their work and accomplishments are “amazing”. And that people have no idea the level of work that is accomplished by the board behind the scenes for chamber members and the community. One of the favorite parts of her job is working with the volunteers at Sequim’s Visitor Information Center each day.
Jeri enjoys reading, walking, doing crossword puzzles and spending time with family and friends. She would love to spend more time gardening, particularly experimenting with growing herbs. She and Ron have a motor home and are looking forward to exploring more of the Olympic Peninsula and beyond.
At first Jeri was very amazed at having the honor to be grand marshal and now she is just a little nervous, although looking forward to the festivities. Attending the Irrigation Festival Parade together with the kids and grandkids has been a family tradition and her honor this year will make the event extra special.
Jeri has a phrase she likes to use when she encounters people that complain that Sequim isn’t the way it used to be. She says “Sequim was a great place when she was growing up. This is still the good old days for our kids and grandkids - a great place to grow up, work and live.”