Jerome Kerlin Bastian
(1931 - 2012)

Jerome Kerlin Bastian

March 11, 1931

June 10, 2012

This site is dedicated to Jerry Bastian.

We encourage all of his friends to add to this memorial with their best (and worst) stories and pictures of the Big Grouper.

Peter Howarth wrote a great piece for the local paper:

"Cancel all my appointments. I'm going surfing with Pete," was a familiar statement heard by the staff of Dr. Jerome K. Bastian, a local dentist for many years. The Pete he referred to was me, a high school kid at the time. We often would play hooky together to go on an ocean adventure, usually either surfing or spearfishing. I like to think it was just as good an education as sitting behind a desk at school.

The school faculty probably felt that I had the best-kept set of chompers in town, until one time, a new school staff member called Dr. Bastian's office to check my story. Unfortunately, the person answering the phone simply stated that the good doctor had gone surfing with Pete. "Oh that little devil," was the reaction, although I was far from little at the time.

Many years have passed since that memorable moment. On June 10 of this year, Jerry, as he was known to all his friends, passed away following a stroke. He was 81. He died in the company of his family, overlooking the ocean from his beach home. This was the way he wanted to go; not bedridden in a nursing home, but gazing out at the sea which had been so much a part of his life for so many years.

A few days later, friends and family got together for a private celebration of his life. I was struck by how many people he had touched in his life. The family had always been special, but a host of other folks, ranging from old hunting buddies to fellow spearfishermen and many others, turned out in force.

It was very clear that Jerry––he would have hated to be called Dr. Bastian in this column––was loved by many. He liked to share his knowledge of various sports at which he excelled. He was also a fun-loving man with a great sense of humor, even when it was at his expense.

I remember once that I called him in feigned excitement, announcing that I'd speared a world-record halibut. He became so excited that he called a bunch of his spearfishing buddies to give them the news, only to discover later that the whole story was a hoax.

He had a good laugh over it, but eventually he got even. The jokes between friends were never mean-spirited or derogatory, however; they were always simply good fun. If you didn't become the brunt of some joke, then you hadn't made that special circle of friends yet.

Jerry was also fond of raising eyebrows with mild cuss words. When I first met him, these words were in Spanish. Later, as cursing seemed to become more acceptable, he began using American words, often in place of the given names of his friends. No offense was ever taken and such names often were bandied about in both directions. The mild-mannered cussing was more a term of endearment and never evoked anger. This was all part of the harmless fun that surrounded Jerry.

Jerry spent a great deal of time as a competitive spearfisherman. Later, perhaps tired of my egging him on, he became interested in diving on shipwrecks, which became another passion. He also enjoyed surfing and angling as well as hunting, often in other states.

He somehow managed to balance his professional career in dentistry with his passion for outdoor sports, arousing envy in many. On the other hand, he had worked very hard to get where he was, so why shouldn't he have made the most of it?

Meanwhile, Jerry had time to spare to share his knowledge, love of adventure, and his fun with generations of both family and friends. Perhaps that's the crux of it: Jerry loved life and was wise enough to know that the greatest gifts in life were friends and family.

At any rate, when his ashes were spread upon the sea he loved, part of each of us went with him, yet he will always be a part of our lives. His legacy is something that can never be taken away from any of us who were fortunate enough to know him.

Below is the obituary, also written by Peter Howarth:

Jerry Bastian died peacefully at his beach home with his family around him on June 10 after suffering a stroke a few days earlier. He was born on March 11, 1931 in Oxnard to Lloyd and Madge Bastian of South Dakota. His older brother Bud, of Lakeport, California, passed away years ago.

After a stint in the Army, Jerry graduated in 1959 from the University of San Francisco Dental School as a doctor of dental surgery. He and his wife Mitzi moved to Goleta that same year where his family began to grow, with sons Chad and Barkley and daughter Jamie. Jerry set up his dental practice on upper State Street, where he practiced for 39 years until his retirement in 1998. In 1965, the family moved to their beach home, where numerous adventures were launched over the years.

Jerry was an avid outdoorsman. He won numerous trophies as a competitive spear-fisherman but also enjoyed hook-and-line fishing in both fresh and salt water. He was a hunter for many years, journeying to other states in quest of game. Jerry also enjoyed surfing. This love of outdoors and the ocean became a legacy for his children and grandchildren, and for the many friends who were to follow.

In the 1970s, Jerry became fascinated with shipwrecks and began seeking wrecks throughout California and Mexico. He even got a tattoo commemorating the wreck of the steamship Cuba off San Miguel Island.

As the years passed the children moved on to careers of their own, but they never lost their love of the outdoors. A few years after the death of Jerry’s first wife, Mitzi, Jerry married Chris Krach, who became his devoted companion and soul mate. Even though Jerry’s consuming passion was with the outdoors, his greatest treasure was his family and friends, dozens of whom turned out for a private celebration of his life and scattering of his ashes. Many reminisced over Jerry’s love of life, friends and fun. He inspired many young people with his abiding interests in adventures, land and sea. He was the “Great Adventurer”.

Jerry is survived by his wife, Chris, his eldest son Chad and his wife Lee Anne, his daughter Jamie and her husband Jef Fry, and his youngest son Barkley, who is also a dentist, as well as step-daughter Krista Surprenant and her husband Pete. Jerry is also survived by four grandchildren, Jamie and Jef’s children Anna and John Fry, Bark’s daughter Jordan Bastian, and the newest edition, Krista and Pete Surprenant’s expected son, due in September.

Guest Book Wall (What is this?)

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Guest Book (2 entries)
Here's to the Big Grouper - may you always keep swimming! Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming...
Chad Bastian (Son)
June 12th, 2012
This is the memorial I set up for Jerome Bastian. To sign the guest book, click on the "Sign Guest Book" button below.
Chad Bastian
June 12th, 2012
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"A wonderful life lived, a fisherman back to the sea. The gift he left behind is his beautiful family. With much love."
Jenny Cline
June 18th, 2012
"To the best daddy I could have ever asked for. Thank you for your love in my life. I will never forget you."
Jamie Bastian Fry
June 18th, 2012
"Jerry I love and miss you so very much! Enjoy your new adventure Love always and forever Chris"
Chris Bastian
June 12th, 2012
"Papa San, I love you so much! I finally learned how to surf, and to do so much more - thanks to you! You will be with me always."
Chad Bastian
June 12th, 2012


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