79, known as Jerry, also known as Rex, is no longer chasing trains in Wasilla. After suffering a traumatic brain injury from a fall at home on January 27th, he left us on February 6th, 2020, to be with his beloved Jack Russell Terrier, Sleater, and his African Gray Parrot, Oiseau, who predeceased him.
He was beloved of Baxter Bob (Beagle) and Fiona Girl (Husky). Humans who will greatly miss him include his beloved spouse of 26 years, Sarah Ruth Welton, his stepchildren Mindi Welton-Mitchell and her husband, J.C., of Seattle, WA, and Travis Welton and his wife Kelly of Wasilla, AK, and his foster children Lola Vars and Liz Guszregan. Extended family includes Bonnie Rexrode, his grandsons A.J. Mitchell and Seamus Welton, and his favorite granddaughter Raleigh Welton.
Jerry was born in Washington, D.C., on July 24th, 1940 to Benjamin and Marie (Passeron) Rexrode. He was raised in D.C. in a one-bedroom apartment, never moving until he joined the Army to get away from home when he was 17, the day after high school graduation, in 1958. Jerry spent his time in the Army as a radio man in the Signal Corp, officially stationed in Korea, but he told of climbing many lonely mountain tops in what he believed was Laos and China, carrying a radio that was as big as he was. Jerry returned from the Army and applied to AT&T with his communications background and easily stepped into a strong 35-½ year union position, serving mostly in Arlington, VA. He was proud of his work setting up the satellite feeds for the White House and Pentagon, retiring as an award-winning senior technician. He met the love of his life Sarah Ruth through a postcard and a phone call and in a whirlwind six-week romance bought a house together in 1993. Jerry retired in 1997 to move permanently to Wasilla where they lived with Sarah’s children, their friends, foster daughters, and the furry four-footed children.
He was well-known and loved in Wasilla, from appearing in Alaska Railroad training videos as a “roadside distraction” to making his rounds to local officials and businesses with Baxter in tow. He was also a longtime member and deacon of Church of the Covenant in Palmer, where Sarah Ruth is the pastor. He had many friends from his days of working at AT&T and random people that he grew to know in Wasilla over the years. Jerry was also an active member of Veterans for Peace. Though a lifelong Republican, Jerry died a registered Democrat.
A Service of Celebration will be held at the Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry in Wasilla, on Saturday, March 28th, from 4-7 p.m.
Attendees are encouraged to wear their favorite T-shirt, jeans, and flannel shirt—the uniform Jerry wore faithfully in his retirement.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to MATI, Valley Community for Recycling Solutions, or Church of the Covenant.