Jerry Budrick. Credit: James Monday

Gerald (Jerry) Anthony Budrick passed away Sunday, July 24, 2022 after a five year battle with esophageal cancer (clearly the cancer won). He was 78 years old and died in Amador City surrounded by the love of his family. 

Jerry was born in Chicago, Illinois on Feb. 23, 1944, a son of the late Anne (Walanga) and Alphonse Budrick. He was a smart and curious man, even from the very beginning, which led him to a life filled with rambunctious adventures.

Some of his greatest adventures included: Being a singer in the Army with the 3rd Infantry Division Glee Club; traveling across the country in his VW Bug peddling fur coats; road-tripping with his buddies from Berkeley to the Yukon Territory of Canada where they discovered dense clouds of relentless mosquitoes; and being one of the original, opening night staff and later maitre d’ and partner in what was to become the renowned Chez Panisse restaurant that started a food movement.

Other accomplishments included finding his “imago” Deborah and having two babies with her; starting a water business and moving to Amador County to operate it; owning an incomparable family restaurant in Sutter Creek; and becoming the biggest fan of his son’s basketball and soccer teams.

Jerry Budrick. Courtesy: the Budrick family

In recent years, Jerry started a new career as a journalist and editor at the ripe age of 64; worked at an area bowling alley after partial retirement; built ridiculous amounts of tables for his daughter’s restaurant; finished and published his book about Chez Panisse with his good friend James Monday; and learned to turn his hearing aid down enough to be able to interact with his lively grandchildren.

jerry was a wordsmith with the largest vocabulary this side of the Mississippi and a Scrabble fanatic with an archive of Scrabble journals dating back to the ’70s.  He was a true handyman who could fix anything he focused his energy on. He was a lover of books and movies (except for Borat 2) and food and drink.

He had a witty sense of humor, a silver tongue and a penchant for brutal honesty, which sometimes got him into trouble, but usually the good kind. His family has no idea how they will survive without his constant input, opinions and grammatical corrections, but luckily his voice will most likely ring in their ears for eternity. He and his lust for life will be sorely missed. 

Jerry is survived by his wife Deborah Budrick of Amador City, CA; a daughter, Ginger Budrick-Carter and a son, Bret Budrick; Ginger’s husband, Matthew Carter and Bret’s girlfriend, Kassie Mastro. Gerald is also survived by his two brothers and their wives, John and Charlotte Budrick and Jim and Michelle Budrick; his in-laws, Victoria and Rick Wise, Arayah and Paul Rude, and Beverly Jenanyan; his nieces and nephews Brian, Timothy and Cara Budrick, Giovanna Budrick, Melissa Amen and Jenan Wise; his grandchildren, Lennon and Hendrix Carter; and countless friends and loved ones. 

A celebration of life will be held on August 17th at 4 p.m. at Teresa’s Place in Jackson. Anyone who knew Jerry is welcome. Food, drinks and stories will be served because Jerry loved all of those things. 

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