Posted: November 18th, 2015


Jerry Pokarney

1937 – 2015

Jerry Pokarney of Lethbridge, Alberta, beloved father of Christy, Cheri, Brynna, and Teague, passed away suddenly on November 13, 2015 at the age of 78 years.

Jerry was born in Great Falls, Montana on June 20, 1937. Jerry spent his childhood in Great Falls and graduated from Great Falls High School in 1955. Jerry went on to earn his Bachelor of Arts in Music from the College of Great Falls in 1964 and proceeded to obtain his Master of Music from the University of Montana in 1967. He married his first wife, Diane Pokarney, in 1961 and together they had two daughters, Christy and Cheri. Jerry began his career as a high school band director in Hobson and Malta, Montana, before moving to Lethbridge in 1969. Jerry briefly taught at Gilbert Paterson Junior High School before taking the position as director of bands at the Lethbridge Collegiate Institute, where he taught for over 30 years. He married his second wife, Bonnie Jean Brown, in 1984 and together they had two children, Brynna and Teague. Teaching music was more than just a career for Jerry, it was his passion. In addition to being an inspirational teacher, Jerry was also a composer, an author, a board member of the Alberta Band Association, a conductor, an adjudicator, and a clinician. His greatest love and talent was playing trumpet, which enabled him to perform with some of the finest musicians in North America. His retirement from teaching in 2003 allowed Jerry to devote more of his time to composing music and spending time with dear friends and family.

Jerry was predeceased by his parents, Gladys and George Pokarney and his brother, George “Bud” Pokarney.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 PM on Friday, November 20, 2015 at Southminster United Church, 1011 4th Avenue South Lethbridge, AB, with the Reverend Canon James Robinson officiating. Interment to follow in Mountain View Cemetery.

Memorial donations may be made to Red Deer College in support of MusiCamp Alberta (formerly MusiCamrose) at the following website location: https://alumnifriends.rdc.ab.ca/Give-Now. Under “Designation”, please select “Other” and type “Jerry Pokarney Memorial Scholarship” in the box provided. Your donations will be used to send students in financial need to this long-standing music workshop in Alberta that Jerry loved and supported for many years.

5 Condolences for “POKARNEY Jerry”

  1. Carol Daglish says:

    We met at Chris and Brynna’s wedding celebration for the first and sadly the only time. In just one meeting he left a positive impression. A true gentleman with a passion for music and his family. Such a warm character. He was so happy for Brynna at her wedding celebration and so proud that Teagan gave such a memorable speech. Try to remember him with a smile on your face. He was a wonderful man,
    Carol Daglish.

  2. Derek Graham says:

    Jerry was my high school band teacher. He was a wonderful instructor and came to be a good friend after graduation. My passion for music and enjoyment playing trumpet even today comes largely from my time with him so many years ago. I am very sad to hear this news and know his family and friends there in Lethbridge will miss him terribly.

  3. Richard Blair says:

    I am so sorry to hear of Jerry’s passing. He was my high school band director and was responsible for my decision to pursue music as a passion and, for several years, a career. Not a week goes by that I don’t think of him while playing with big bands here in Toronto, remembering him and the passion he had that brought our stage band to Toronto in 1974 to compete. He was a wonderful musician and a great mentor. My condolences to all of his family.

  4. Darren Stevenson says:

    I would have never been brave enough to stand in front of an audience blasting out solo’s on my saxophone if it wasn’t for this wonderful man. To this day I still create songs on my piano, and think of every time Mr. Pokarney smiled at me when I played something he liked.

    My most sincere condolences to the family, a warm and heartfelt thank you Mr. Pokarney.

    Darren Stevenson. LCI band 1990-1993.

  5. Jamie Bagu says:

    Well..time passes and people that made a significant impact on your life leave this earth. I didn’t even here about this until recently. As the world goes nuts around us, I get a smile on my face when I think about our old band room home and how great those days were. Mr. P was a cornerstone and a virtuous guide to that young man I use to be. If I would have had any idea how many great people I would never see again after high school, I would have had much more to say and many hugs to give, but when your 18 and graduating, your too cool for all that. Just like Darren above, (who I haven’t seen in almost 30 years) I fondly remember belting out saxophone solo’s and Mr. P smiling when I played something he liked. I distinctly remember some Alberta education dude hanging around and watching our bands for days and then coming to the conclusion we were more than fine. The stage band really rocked that particular day now lost in time, I remember like it was yesterday Mr. P had a huge smile on his face as we made him proud. One time Mr. P asked me what I was listening to on my walkman, I responded, “The Blues Brothers”, and he said, “Who?” Those were the good old days… Mr. P would tell us stories about the Navy and all the interesting things he did in the USA before coming to Canada. I will never forget when Mr. P let me do a bagpipe number, with help from the drum section, at one of the concerts, not really convinced bagpipes were a real instrument, he was up there conducting and laughing with a gleam in his eye…that is how I will always remember my old band teacher and life coach. Darren above helped me tune those difficult pipes before that concert behind the Yates, thanks dude. All those moments are lost in time, like tears in the rain, only living in our memories. I wish I would have heard of this sooner, so I could have had the honor of piping at Mr. P’s funeral. I will play you “Flowers of the Forest” anyhow, when I pay my respects at your grave. Old LCI band members, wherever you are, raise a glass of your finest with me, to our dear friend Jerry.
    My most sincere condolences to the family and keep on keepin on with the knowledge there are so many of us out here that smile on the memories of Mr. P.
    Ringo asked Wilson Picket, “Can you please tell me what is soul?” Wilson Picket responded, “Soul ain’t nothing but a feeling that gets in your hands and feet!” Jerry was a cat that had soul. Listen to some funk and blues and try not to dance!

    Jamie Bagu. LCI band, stage band, jazz combo, saxophone quartet, LCI official bagpiper 1987-1990

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