Memoriam – Jerome (Jerry) Vernon DeGraff

The AEG Sacramento Chapter was devastated to learn of the passing of esteemed friend, colleague, and AEG Fresno Chapter Chair – Jerry DeGraff. Below, please read the description of all of Jerry’s great contributions to the profession from the AEG Insider April 9th issue. From this you can see how greatly he contributed and how deeply he will be missed. We are grateful for the many contributions to the profession and AEG. On behalf of the AEG Sacramento Chapter we offer sincerest condolences to his family, friends, students, colleagues, and the AEG Fresno Chapter.

Our colleague, dear friend, and fellow engineering geologist, Jerome (Jerry) V. DeGraff, Adjunct Professor of Geology, Fresno State University, California, passed away the night of March 26, after fighting pancreatic cancer for nearly three years. Before joining Fresno State University as an Adjunct Professor, Jerry had a long and distinguished career (1977-2014) with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) – Forest Service. His work with the Forest Service focused on landslide hazards as related to forest fires, risk assessment, mitigation, and landslide-related policy issues.

Jerry’s contributions to our profession are too numerous to mention. He published some 100 technical articles in peer reviewed journals, proceedings volumes, and book chapters. He co-authored several books, most notably “Principles of Engineering Geology” in 1988 and, in 2002, “Catastrophic Landslides: Effects, Occurrences and Mechanisms,” co-edited several proceedings volumes, including the proceedings of the 3rd North American Landslide Symposium, and served as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Encyclopedia of Engineering Geology. Jerry provided extensive consulting service on landslides in the United States as well as Jamaica, Dominica, St. Lucia, Puerto Rico, and elsewhere in Latin America.

Jerry was a very active member of Geological Society of America (GSA), Environmental & Engineering Geology Division (EEGD) of GSA, Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists (AEG), and International Association for Engineering Geology and the Environment (IAEG). He graciously and effectively performed extensive committee work for all of these professional societies. He was the past EEGD chair, a Jahns Lecturer, Burwell awardee (EEGD), Claire P. Holdredge Awardee (AEG), Frye committee member, GSA Councilor, Distinguished Practice awardee (EEGD), Meritorious Service awardee (EEGD), Environmental & Engineering Geoscience journal (EEG) Best Publication awardee, and Chair of the EEG Advisory Board.

Jerry’s long and distinguished record of accomplishments, commitment to detail and scientific practice, mentorship and high professional and ethical standards touched the global community directly and indirectly. His work influenced individuals around the world – his collaboration helped numerous colleagues and the results of his landslide-focused accomplishments will benefit society for years to come. Jerry will be especially remembered for his endless enthusiasm, unbridled kindness, open generosity, humanity, devoted friendship, which he shared with a caring and positive attitude, patience, laughter, smiles, and good humor — these special traits will stay with us forever.

Jerry is survived by his loving wife and devoted companion, Sandy, as well as two sons, Mark and Nick, and grandson Liam.

One thought on “Memoriam – Jerome (Jerry) Vernon DeGraff

  • I knew Jerry and Sandy in the late ’60s when Jerry was Education Director for the Strasenburgh Planetarium in Rochester, NY. What a fantastic guy!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s