Jerry Ceis, 1948-2013: He ‘lived for the joy of life and adventure’

(Updated with official memorial date/time/place)

Memorial plans are not yet finalized for West Seattleite Jerry Ceis, who died last week at age 64, but family and friends are remembering him as a spirited soul. Among his many friends are two WSB’ers who wanted to make sure Mr. Ceis’s passing would be noted here. So we asked Tim Ceis, Jerry’s brother, for a remembrance:

He was born May 4, 1948 and died on January 9, 2013. He was born in West Seattle to Philip L. and Doris Ceis. His birth mother died when Jerry was 5 and his stepmother was Margaret Ceis, who passed away in May of last year.

He is survived by his brother Tim Ceis, his niece Natalie Ceis, his aunt Winifred Savery and her family, and his Uncle John Yorke and his family.

Jerry lived for the joy of life and adventure; from building his one true love – a 17-foot Ed Monk-designed wood sailboat – at the age of 18, to trying to sail it solo to Hawaii in 1975. He fished in Alaska, sailed wherever a boat, wind, and tide would take him, and lived the life of a pirate – sometimes for Seafair and, in more than a few minds, in real life. Many of us lived out our own adventures by joining him at one time or another, or just by hearing him tell the stories over the years.

Jerry has set his last course, and I believe it is toward the second star on the right and straight on till morning.

As a Seafair Pirate, Jerry Ceis was Captain Kidd in 1984, as shown on this page of the Pirates’ website. We will publish an update when memorial information is announced.

ADDED: Friends are planning at least two gatherings in his honor: 3 pm January 27th at Chelan Café; Christo’s on Alki at 6:30 pm February 5th.

UPDATE: The official memorial for Mr. Ceis is at 1:30 pm Saturday, February 2nd, at the Alki Bathhouse (60th and Alki). A gathering is planned afterward at Christo’s on Alki. (Thank you to Tim Ceis for providing the photo we have added above.)

17 Replies to "Jerry Ceis, 1948-2013: He 'lived for the joy of life and adventure'"

  • Jeff Jones January 15, 2013 (10:47 am)

    Ya don’t know what ya got til it’s gone. Miss him, bigtime. I’m gonna grab my Ceisstories album and head for Christos 530pm Friday for a Capn Jerry toast that will make Pat Oday blush. Please join me, bring stories! Jonesy

  • Mitch Adams January 15, 2013 (11:30 am)

    Let me tell ya ’bout a boat! Always great to hear stories from the Captain!

  • Kendall Jones January 15, 2013 (11:32 am)

    Jerry was a larger-than-life character that always cracked me up. We had many heated, good-spirited debates over the years. We got along swimmingly even though his political affiliation was “Just to the right of Atilla the Hun.” Loved that guy! So many stories. I’ll miss his big, rattling laugh. Friday at Christo’s will be a serious hoot!

  • fauntleroy fairy January 15, 2013 (12:56 pm)

    One of the most wonderful people that you will ever know. He has touched my family with his stories and great smile. West Seattle has lost another icon. Rest in Peace matey.

  • BIGJP January 15, 2013 (6:31 pm)

    Jerry, I will miss your loving hearty slaps on the back whenever you saw me….farewell Ceis and desist! You will be missed.

  • Tyler Estby January 15, 2013 (8:23 pm)

    Had some wonderful times over the years getting to know you and listening to your stories. Sorry I didn’t make it down the hill more often to help on the boat. Gonna miss ya Jerry

  • Leonette Carte January 15, 2013 (9:13 pm)

    Big man, big laugh, big heart. I used to fill in at THE Benbow bartending in the 80’sand saw him often. He gave me his Ceistories album and I am playing it now. What a guy!
    The Robert Service poem was Jerry and he knew it..

  • Jack Meduna January 16, 2013 (12:34 am)

    Jerry was one of a kind. A good friend for over 45 years. I have had buckets of fun and great stories being around him. Miss him.

  • Harry and Joy January 16, 2013 (1:39 pm)

    Jerry was our tenant on Harbor Ave in the 60’s. Now he is gone and the Alki Tavern will be torn down. Farewell to the old Harbor Ave.

  • Jeanne January 18, 2013 (1:16 am)

    Jerry was my childhood friend. He actually was my first friend. Our Grandmother’s were good friends and we would play together while our Grandmothers visited. We always had to play with Lincoln Logs because that is what Jerry wanted to play. I probably knew him since before I could walk. Our paths crossed many times. Summer before middle school. I even babysat Tim a few times. That was a great summer. The sailboat… Fishing… the treehouse. Again, I transfered from Sealth to West Seattle HS. Again, as a Pirate, and a few times after that. Jerry was a special guy. I will miss his spirited soul. Thanks for the memories!

  • Kim Hendricks January 18, 2013 (10:17 am)

    The master storyteller. Wonderful memories! Jerry will forever live in our hearts.

  • alki beach girl January 18, 2013 (2:21 pm)

    Jerry was one of a kind. He was known to many, as a gruff, tough, carousing, salty dog pirate…and yes, I knew that Jerry, but I also knew a tender hearted, kind spirited man. My dad thought a lot of Jerry, and if my dad thought someone was o.k. then that they were. I grew to form my own opinions of Jerry, and they were of a man full of laughter, love, mischief and yes…Pirating! Of the Sea Fair variety. The Pirates have changed alot over the years, and I have to say that Jerry exemplified the true Pirate Spirit. Anyone who raises bees….has to be a beautiful person…and he was. You definitely were “One of The Men Who DID Fit In”! Fair Winds and Following Seas…till we meet again. RIP my friend.

  • cin-d January 18, 2013 (6:04 pm)

    Jer,love of my life, you will truly be missed…

  • Mark Johnson January 19, 2013 (9:42 pm)

    Jerry was bigger than life and made his friends feel as such.

    http://youtu.be/3xsemGVR42s

    RIP my friend

  • Mark Johnson January 20, 2013 (12:04 am)

    Alki Beach Girl. Very nice post. I will miss him too.

  • alki beach girl January 22, 2013 (12:00 pm)

    thank you mark johnson. jerry was one in a million, and deserves to be remembered as such…he was a free spirit, true to himself, and full of…..lots of things! including love for his friends. i will truly miss his mischievious smile, the one raised eyebrow (you knew you’d really done it then!!), his big hugs, funny stories, contagious laugh, and tales of all he knew. rip in sailor.

  • Lucy January 31, 2013 (5:55 pm)

    My big ol crazy swashbuckler. So many great times. Gone but never forgotten.
    Love ya Jerry!

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