This obituary was sent to us by Pauline Bondonno Cross.
We miss Jerry’s kind, fun-loving, adventurous, romantic spirit. Jerry passed on November 30, 2022.
He was born to Lois and John Cross in Chicago, Illinois. In high school, he began his love
of being a camp counselor with young people on a lake in Wisconsin. He continued working as
a camp counselor for youth at Echo Lake, Berkeley’s Tuolumne Camp, San Jose Family Camp
and Sunnyvale Parks and Recreation. He completed a bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in
Psychology and Sociology at San Jose State University.
The woods were dear to his heart. In fact, for his first date he invited his future wife Pauline to
go with him to find frogs in a small creek late at night. Their second date was looking in a
hippo’s mouth together, marveling at his teeth, foreshadowing that Jerry would later organize a
safari for them to travel on their own in Kenya and Tanzania to study animal behavior. Jerry
had always loved his studies in animal behavior at San Jose State University and vowed to
share the love his professor had ignited in him with his students by taking them behind the
scenes to observe the gorillas at the San Francisco zoo.
His dream was to teach at a college and have a family. After working for Sunnyvale Recreation
Department for 11 years where he met Pauline and ran city-wide teen programs, taking 350
rambunctious pre-teens to San Francisco for trips to the zoo, Stow Lake, the Japanese Tea
Garden and nighttime bay cruises with a band, he went on to teach at Saint Patrick’s College in
Mountain View, where he quickly rose to the position of Department Chair.
He decided that Europe had opened up his thinking so much he wanted to share that with his students, so he organized an excursion to Europe, spanning five countries. Europe was dear to his heart, a place he visited often, especially to teach with Diablo Valley College Study Abroad. From Saint Patrick’s College Jerry taught Foothill College Veterans at the VA Hospital and then took a
teaching position at Contra Costa College in 1978 where he became Department Head of the Psychology Department. He transferred to Diablo Valley College and taught psychology for the district for 40 years.
Jerry loved teaching and was frustrated that some students couldn’t easily grasp the application
of the theories,so he developed a multiple theories approach. While Pauline was pregnant with
their first child he decided to author a text full of personal examples, where the theory was
illuminated by the vignettes. One psychology instructor said he set up an easy-to-understand
scaffolding for community college students. The book, Knowing Yourself Inside Out for Self-
Direction, received high ratings from students and was used at 32 different colleges at one time
to teach personality theory. Jerry and Pauline wrote the book together and set up Crystal
Publications to keep the price modest for students on a budget.
Jerry was dedicated to his students and always wanted to keep the material and the many hands-on labs he did accessible to their interest level. Students still remember Jerry’s class experiments they would do with partners. Jerry took his family to live in England and Italy where he taught DVC students in the American Institute of Foreign Studies program. On sabbaticals in Italy he pursued his interests
to research what was at the heart of creating the Renaissance genius, co-authored “Pinocchio
of Tuscany” and traveled with Pauline and their three children who also studied at DVC.
He loved being outdoors hiking and camping, and long conversations with his buddies over a cappuccino at Espresso Roma in Berkeley. Jerry loved life and his positive attitude, his intellect and his sense of humor always strengthened his family bonds.
Jerry and Pauline have three adult children, who all reside close by, Johnpaul, Jason and Julia. Julia went to DVC with her dad for teacher-daughter day when she was seven. She followed in his footsteps, earning a PhD from Harvard University and now is teaching a class at Stanford as a post-doc.
Jerry’s greatest joy was playing with the children as they grew up, taking them to the snow, the beach, the mountains and to Europe for Jerry’s adventures.
Thank you, Jerry.
Gifts in his memory may be made to the DVC Student Scholarship Fund, Pleasant Hill, California.