Remembering Jerry Wharton

PHOTO: The Wharton Family

Donald Jerry Wharton Sept 20, 1940 - Feb 4,2023

After a long battle with Dementia and Alzheimer’s, Donald Jerald Wharton (“Jerry”) passed away at the age of 82 in Palm Desert, California, on February 4th, 2023. He is survived by his wife, Mary Kay Geiger-Wharton, of 65 years, and three children; Tracy Wharton-Dowty and husband Tony Dowty, Chris Wharton, wife Arlene Wharton, and Michelle Wharton-Riley and husband Martin Riley. Grandchildren included are Jordan and Taylor Riley, Lane and Chase Dowty, Sonny and Frankie Mele, and Madelynn Wharton. Great-grandchildren include Reagan Dowty.

Jerry Wharton was born to Lynn and Helen Wharton in Bell, California, on September 20th, 1940. During his teenage years, he worked for his parents at the Wilson Service Station in Compton, California, pumping gas, cleaning windows, and various other automotive services and repairs. He completed high school in 1959. While in high school, he met the love of his life, Mary Kay Geiger. They married on September 3rd, 1960, and started their family in Whittier, California. Following lifelong friends, after seventeen years, they decided to relocate their family to Wrightwood, California. They resided there until the year of 2014 when they moved to Palm Desert to start the next chapter in their lives.

Jerry began his career as a fireman in the year 1967, working for the Whittier Fire Department. After the Los Angeles County Fire Department merger with the Whittier Fire Department in 1977, he continued his career as a firefighter until his retirement in 2000. Throughout his firefighting career, he took great pride in providing excellent firefighting and medical services. He was very compassionate about providing these services while maintaining a strong work ethic and integrity.

He was passionate about his family, cars, motorcycles, boats, and traveling. Jerry loved working with his hands on his days off from the fire department, and he often could be found working in his home or that of friends and family. He loved to go boating at Lake Havasu and enjoyed teaching his children and friends how to swim and water ski. He found joy in riding motorcycles with his close firefighting friends and taking road trips in his RV across the country. He truly enjoyed traveling with the love of his life as they made several trips abroad and road trips throughout the nation.

A private memorial service is being held in Palm Desert, California, for family members and close friends. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the local Alzheimer’s Association at

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