Jerry Lynn Waters

December 8, 1969April 27, 2021

Jerry Waters, age 51, an architect who committed his career to buildings in the Pacific Northwest, including Sandy High School and Emmanuel Children’s Hospital, died by suicide on April 26th, 2021. Jerry achieved a Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania in 1997 and graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor of Architecture in 1993. Jerry’s love for travel and passion for art took him all over Europe. He received the AIA Bailey fellowship to research educational architecture in 2017 which led to a focus on the impact of immigration and disability on architecture in Finland and Montessori pedagogy in the Netherlands. Jerry began his career in New York City and following his masters began work for ZGF in Portland, Oregon. His love for education led him to DOWA in 2008, where he was able to lead an education design team. His success at DOWA resulted in a senior design position at YGH and he was part of the successful completion of Oregon’s first earthquake and tsunami vertical evacuation site for more than 900 people as part of Oregon State University Marine Studies Initiative Building. His colleagues describe his energy and dedication as both deeply thoughtful and childishly enthusiastic. Jerry is survived by his wife Anna, his two daughters Edna (23) and Riley (20), and his in-laws Linda and Horst Jeddeloh. His family describes him as devoted and adoring while being sincere and meticulous. His nickname at home was “Swag Master J” and was known for his well-kept sense of style. As a family, Jerry relished snowboarding at Timberline Lodge and any chance for a weekend getaway at the Oregon Coast. In lieu of flowers and other gifts, donations to suicide prevention through NAMI Oregon, or to St. Mary’s Academy is encouraged and appreciated. A memorial service will be held on Thursday May 20th at 3:00 PM at Finley-Sunset Hills Mortuary.


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Jerry Lynn Waters

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Edna Waters

May 11, 2021

I'm Eddie (Edna) Jerry's oldest daughter (23) and right now all I want to be is Jerry's daughter even though it feels like that has been taken away. My dad was everything to me, I look up to him in so many ways and share so many similar personality traits that I will cherish forever. Dad's talent and dedication go unmatched by anyone else I have ever known personally, I am proud that he was MY dad. He gave parenting 100%; if I wanted to play sports, he was all in practicing with me after work and talking back to the refs at games while cheering me on. If I wanted to do an art project, he made sure I had the time, space, and materials to work away for as many days as I needed. He valued my education, talents, and hobbies more than any kid could dream of.

I have so many questions for him about what happened, what he was hiding, what he was struggling with? I would do anything to bring him back and hug him and stay by his side so that losing him would never happen.

Some of my favorite memories are building LEGO sets; we have an extensive Star Wars LEGO collection that I am very proud of and continue to add to. Our family has been skiing and snowboarding since I was three years old at Timberline lodge, making the winter season the best season. All the morning drives and stopping at Joe's Donut shop in sandy, the laughing, and the constant rotation of about 5 CD's that have been listened to since I can remember. Radiohead, Placebo, and David Burn just to name a few. I will continue to do all these things even though it makes me miss him so much it hurts.

Thank you for being my dad, for loving me, and for making me laugh. Thank you for giving me your sense of style, and your artistic side. I love you forever so much more than you know.

Ken Riddle

May 6, 2021

I’m deeply saddened by Jerry’s passing and want to send my condolences to his family. As everyone else has mentioned below, his love for his wife and daughters was unmatched. He loved to share stories of his girls athletic accomplishments and spoke so highly of them regularly. I can’t begin to imagine what his family is going through at this point, but I hope they know how much he loved them.

My professional interaction with Jerry was only a couple of years while at DOWA, but I grew an immense amount of respect for his design acumen and knowledge of architectural history and theory. He was a great mentor and source of knowledge that I missed when he left DOWA.

When I think about Jerry and the few conversations we had, the one that stands out the most was a heated discussion we had regarding the best second basemen in baseball. He was a Red Sox fan and was certain Dustin Pedroia was the best. I’m a Yankees fan and wouldn’t back down that Robinson Cano was better…we agreed to disagree.

Jean Kirell

May 6, 2021

Jerry made an indelible impact on the NY office of ZGF. He was a friend to all and a mentor to many. Most importantly, he exuded kindness in all things. Regardless of the situation he was always there for those around him. If I remember only one thing about Jerry, it will be that. This kindness extended into everything he did, including his work. It was clear his passion for architecture came from a desire to help others and improve the world we all live in. This is a truly extraordinary thing.

We were all sad to see Jerry leave NY but understood his desire to be closer to his wife and daughters, whom he loved more than anything and missed dearly. When he returned to the west coast, we reminded him that he will always be part of the ZGF NY family and that remains true to this day. I personally will cherish my memories and the time he spent with us.

Tom Robbins

May 4, 2021

I was fortunate enough to work closely with Jerry while he was at YGH. After he left we had stayed in touch discussing the ups and downs in everyone's lives and how we might work together in the future. He and I worked very well together, balancing and pushing one another. Over the course of doing projects and chasing work all over the PNW he and I spent countless hours on planes, in cars, sharing meals, and on one occasion even had to share a hotel room. Through this we developed a solid friendship and recently over a beer he described our work/friendship to another as one of brothers in which we could be honest with one another but could also laugh at each other. I greatly valued this statement. Although I didn't share his passion for little know facts of the Boston Red Sox, he never did stop trying to educate to these during our late night drives. We both enjoyed a favorite brewery in Bend, which I'll always associate with you while enjoying a beer from the Crux growler you gave me.

Robert Mosby

May 3, 2021

Jerry’s design excellence, patience, mentorship, and unprecedented leadership will have a lasting impact on my life; both professionally and personally. While Jerry was in NY I had the opportunity to work with Jerry on a Lab/office project in Boston. The project required us to travel on multiple occasions for client meetings, site visits, and presentations. During one of these trips, a storm delayed or canceled most flights back to NYC. The team was scrambling to find a way home in hopes to make it to the office in the morning. Jerry and I made it a competition to see who would get home first; he trusted his delayed/unpredictable flight and I decided to take the train. It was close, but he beat me back to Brooklyn by 30min (or so he claimed haha). Either way, he definitely made the right choice because train sandwiches and canned beer do not compare to real food and tap beer at an airport.

My favorite personal story happened randomly at the 2019 US Open (Jerry loved this event). For those not there - all outside matches were delayed because of rain. The first outside match to resume was men's doubles so I ventured out to my seat. There were only a few spectators until I looked back to see Jerry and Anna sitting in the stands. We eventually noticed each other - he waved us over; resulting in drinks, food, and great stories (everyone knows he’s a great storyteller). The start to the day was not ideal but ended up great because of Jerry and Anna - I will always cherish this memory.

The time I spent with Jerry at work or in the city will have a lasting impact on me - Please lookout for all of us until we meet again.

Rebecca Tovar

May 3, 2021

This hurts deep.

Jerry, as well as Anna, have been devoted water polo parents over the years to Edna and Riley. Countless weekends and many travel games to California. Conversations with Jerry were not only about wopo but about traveling around the world and talks about favorite museums. The Barnes Foundation museum will always remind me of you.

More importantly #GIRLDAD.


May 1, 2021

I am sitting at my laptop trying to compose myself while reflecting on what Jerry meant to me. Being his EA at ZGF was the best. I only knew Jerry for a short time before he moved back to Portland to be with his family. But I can recall the times when we will have our morning chats before the day started. I would talk about my boys and he will share stories with me about his daughters.

I found this poem in which I would like to share that sums up what Jerry meant to me...
Dear Boss,
You are one of the few leaders

Who has not just been a tough cookie

But also a guide and a mentor

Who never treats anyone like a rookie

You have been an illuminating light

In the careers of many an employee

Having to see you go

Is the worst feeling there could ever be

Until we meet again....this is not a goodbye, but I will see you later.

You will be missed but NEVER FORGOTTEN!

Denise Funk

May 1, 2021

Jerry was an incredibly unique mentor and friend. He was an emotionally intuitive, compassionate and kind person, who deeply impacted myself and many of us at ZGF and beyond.

My favorite and most touching memory of him was when he came to my first “big league” roller derby game — I was so humbled that such a highly esteemed person came to show his support. I will never forget seeing his face in the crowd that day and thinking how special of a person he was — not only supportive of my professional endeavors but cheering me on through personal ones as well.

I am deeply privileged we crossed paths. His spirit of genuine curiosity and unconditional support for others will continue to inspire me for the rest of my life.

Scott Ericson

April 30, 2021

Jerry and I met while attending Hermiston Higj School. We were partners in our architecture class, on the beach volleyball court and became close friends our senior year. It was obvious that Jerry was a genius when it came to design and his passion drove his entire career. My most fond memory of Jerry was attending our first concert together. We drove to Portland with our girlfriends (now my wife) to attend INXS at the Memorial Colliseum. It was our favorite band. Jerry made a "mix tape" of our favorite songs and we played it the entire way down to the city singing every word. We reconnected several times throughout our lives at University of Oregon and again several times after he returned to Portland. He is someone I will always admire, cherish and miss. Condolences to his family.

William Robertson

April 30, 2021

I overlapped with Jerry for a short period of time but a couple of things were obvious from the first moments. Jerry was fundamentally a really good person. He cared deeply about people and design. Jerry was a great mentor to younger staff and a great supporter of elevating design in everything. In our short time working together we spent a lot of time sitting on trains talking about family and kids. Jerry talked about his girls and their accomplishments with deep pride and love. He was immensely proud.
Rest In Peace Jerry.