It Was The Summer Of 1969

Former Madera Chief of Police Jerry Dean Noblett
It was the summer of peace, love, and harmony, the year of Woodstock, it was the end of the summer of 1969.  I had just graduated from high school and I was moving on to start my college education at my home town college, Fresno State College later renamed California State University, Fresno.
I was busy scrambling trying to enroll into my very first semester of classes.  The freshmen were all in the school gym running between the different desks trying to get into the classes that they needed.  I was no different than the rest, a young uninformed 18 year old trying desperately to get my required classes.
As the frustrations mounted I was feeling hopelessly lost.  I felt this tap on my shoulder and when I turned around it was a fellow student to my dismay.  He starting joking about this registration fiasco and we both began to laugh.  He told me his name, Jerry Noblett, and introduced me to one of his friends, Steve Detjen.  They both went to school together in Madera, CA.
As it turned out all three of us were going to be Criminology majors.  Wow, what are the chances of meeting new friends and all three were going to study Criminology?
Through the four years at Fresno State, we were like “The Three Musketeers”!  We scheduled all our classes together, had lunch together, played pinnacle together,bowled together, and played pool together.  In 1971 I got married and both Jerry and Steve were groomsmen in my wedding.  The friendship was solid.
In June of 1973 I graduated and went into the US Air Force to become a pilot.  Jerry went into law enforcement with the Madera County Sheriffs Department, then on to the Madera Police Department.
Jerry spent more than 20 years with the Madera Police Department.  My buddy was a special person, it showed in the way his career unfolded and the way that he rose up through the ranks at the police department.  He ultimately rose to the position of Madera Chief of Police, quite a prestigious and honorable position.
Last month I got notification from Steve that Jerry had developed serious heart and kidney problems and was being transported to the University of San Francisco Medical facilities to await a heart transplant.  As recently as last week it looked like Jerry was going to be the recipient of a heart transplant, however that did not happen.
Monday morning I was notified by Steve Detjen that our friend, Jerry, had lost his battle with heart and kidney disease.  Jerry Dean Noblett, husband, father, grandfather, former Chief of Police, and my oldest friend, had pasted from this life!
Jerry was a very humble, very honest, and very a hard working man.  I feel very proud and honored to have been able to call Jerry Dean Noblett one of my oldest, and long-time friends.
Go rest high on that mountain, Jerry, your work on Earth is done.
Farewell my friend, your legacy will always be remembered by those of us that are left here!
It was the summer of 1969!
Click on this video!

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYHT-TF4KO4

23 thoughts on “It Was The Summer Of 1969”

  1. Dear Leon; You probably don’t remember me, but I’m Jerry’s sister. Jerry spoke of you often. We all appreciate the loving tribute to Jerry on your website. He didn’t realize how much he was loved and admired by his friends & family. It would always surprise him when he was told so. I spent lots of time with him the last 6 months while he was in and out of the hospital and we had lots of talks about the “good old days”. As his only sister I know what a hard act to follow he was! I still can’t get my head around the fact he won’t be just a phone call away. He was always my hero and my protector. I will miss him so much. Thank you again for the awesome web tribute, it means a lot to all of us. Take care. Jeanne Gates

    1. Jeanne I do remember you but it has been so many years since I have seen you. Your brother was quite a man. I always valued his friendship! Jerry was the most honest, honorable, and humble man I have ever met. For those four years, Jerry was like my brother and I still consider his as such!

      He treated my parents like his own. I will never forget that he took time off of his busy day to come to my father’s funeral back in 1995. I was so proud of your brother when he was selected to be the Chief of Police.

      My four years at Fresno State will forever be etched in my mind with all the hard work, fun, and the friendship of one Jerry Dean Noblett!

      Even though Jerry and I went our separate ways after CSUF, that friendship was a bond that never would break apart! I will be there Monday in Madera to say “so long” to my old college buddy!

  2. Dear Leon; You probably don’t remember me, but I’m Jerry’s sister. Jerry spoke of you often. We all appreciate the loving tribute to Jerry on your website. He didn’t realize how much he was loved and admired by his friends & family. It would always surprise him when he was told so. I spent lots of time with him the last 6 months while he was in and out of the hospital and we had lots of talks about the “good old days”. As his only sister I know what a hard act to follow he was! I still can’t get my head around the fact he won’t be just a phone call away. He was always my hero and my protector. I will miss him so much. Thank you again for the awesome web tribute, it means a lot to all of us. Take care. Jeanne Gates

    1. Jeanne I do remember you but it has been so many years since I have seen you. Your brother was quite a man. I always valued his friendship! Jerry was the most honest, honorable, and humble man I have ever met. For those four years, Jerry was like my brother and I still consider his as such!

      He treated my parents like his own. I will never forget that he took time off of his busy day to come to my father’s funeral back in 1995. I was so proud of your brother when he was selected to be the Chief of Police.

      My four years at Fresno State will forever be etched in my mind with all the hard work, fun, and the friendship of one Jerry Dean Noblett!

      Even though Jerry and I went our separate ways after CSUF, that friendship was a bond that never would break apart! I will be there Monday in Madera to say “so long” to my old college buddy!

  3. I have wiped away the many tears shed after reading your tribute to my very special brother-in-law Jerry. He became a part of my life when I was 14 years old. I liked Jerry from the first time he and Marty started dating and she introduced him to our family. Sadly, shortly after they started dating, our father died suddenly and tragically on Jerry’s birthday – January 22nd. Jerry always said his birthdays were never the same, knowing the loss we experienced but I always told him that it was God’s way to help us fill the void left. God took our father but gave us Jerry to help us get along. It felt so right and was the best thing that happened to our family.

    Over the next many years we enjoyed seeing the successes in Jerry’s career in law enforcement and were so very proud of him. He was living his dream and reaching for the stars – becoming Chief of Police. When he grabbed that final star in his career we were so thrilled and happy for him. When he retired, we were so proud that he left his position as Chief with his integrity, self respect, and head held high. Jerry had done a tremendous job for the City of Madera, had made so many friendships and touched the lives of many along the way.

    I remember all that you wrote about and when it was my turn to register at CSUF in 1971, it was Jerry who helped me through that ridiculous and frustrating process. I remember seeing the three of you on campus, plus Jimmy Bombrezzi – and loved to sit in the student union and watch you guys play cards, shoot pool and laugh with such gusto. Jerry had such a great laugh and enjoyed life.

    Many times Jerry would come to my apartment in between classes and have lunch with me and we’d play cards, watch him clean his gun, tell jokes or just talk. One of my roommates – Cindy Cereghino – loved it when Jerry came to see us. He was a lot of fun and was already another “big brother to me.”

    Jerry was a big part of our lives for many years and his passing will leave a huge void in our family – one that will never be filled. I can’t even imagine a family gathering without him with us. We had such hope and optimism for Jerry getting a new heart and coming back home to his family and friends and we know Jerry really wanted it, too. He had made many plans to do things once he was well.

    I know Jerry now walks in the heavens above, healthy and without any suffering. Although we had hoped for a different outcome, there is comfort in knowing that he has reconnected with those loved ones who passed before him. Jerry is in a glorious place and will be looking down on his precious family from the heavens above.

    One day we will all meet him again and it will be Jerry there to walk the journey into eternal life with us saying, “It’s about time – I’ve been waiting for you.”

    Jerry – rest in peace my dear brother – you will never be forgotten. You will forever be missed.

    Much Love, Margie (Stilts)

    1. Margie,
      Thanks for you reply. I have so many good memories of Jerry that I will always remember. My college days were probably the best years of my life! Three of us, Jerry, Steve Detjen, and myself were almost inseparable for those years. I look back and I really do think that those were “the good old days”!

      My whole family got to know Jerry, he and Steve were in wedding, and they all loved him. He would come to our family gatherings in the 80’s like he was one of us. He would stop down at the Fresno Sheriffs Dept., where my sister was the records supervisor, and sit at her desk and visit every time he was in the area.

      But what I most admired about Jerry was that he was genuine, honest, and a true friend. There was no pretense in his personality, even when he had risen to the position of Chief of Police. Jerry was always just Jerry, my friend!

      I will always remember the good old days at CSUF, with Jerry, Steve, and me! I feel very honored to have been able to call Jerry Dean Noblett my friend!

      Go rest high on that mountain, Jerry. Your work on Earth is done!

  4. I have wiped away the many tears shed after reading your tribute to my very special brother-in-law Jerry. He became a part of my life when I was 14 years old. I liked Jerry from the first time he and Marty started dating and she introduced him to our family. Sadly, shortly after they started dating, our father died suddenly and tragically on Jerry’s birthday – January 22nd. Jerry always said his birthdays were never the same, knowing the loss we experienced but I always told him that it was God’s way to help us fill the void left. God took our father but gave us Jerry to help us get along. It felt so right and was the best thing that happened to our family.

    Over the next many years we enjoyed seeing the successes in Jerry’s career in law enforcement and were so very proud of him. He was living his dream and reaching for the stars – becoming Chief of Police. When he grabbed that final star in his career we were so thrilled and happy for him. When he retired, we were so proud that he left his position as Chief with his integrity, self respect, and head held high. Jerry had done a tremendous job for the City of Madera, had made so many friendships and touched the lives of many along the way.

    I remember all that you wrote about and when it was my turn to register at CSUF in 1971, it was Jerry who helped me through that ridiculous and frustrating process. I remember seeing the three of you on campus, plus Jimmy Bombrezzi – and loved to sit in the student union and watch you guys play cards, shoot pool and laugh with such gusto. Jerry had such a great laugh and enjoyed life.

    Many times Jerry would come to my apartment in between classes and have lunch with me and we’d play cards, watch him clean his gun, tell jokes or just talk. One of my roommates – Cindy Cereghino – loved it when Jerry came to see us. He was a lot of fun and was already another “big brother to me.”

    Jerry was a big part of our lives for many years and his passing will leave a huge void in our family – one that will never be filled. I can’t even imagine a family gathering without him with us. We had such hope and optimism for Jerry getting a new heart and coming back home to his family and friends and we know Jerry really wanted it, too. He had made many plans to do things once he was well.

    I know Jerry now walks in the heavens above, healthy and without any suffering. Although we had hoped for a different outcome, there is comfort in knowing that he has reconnected with those loved ones who passed before him. Jerry is in a glorious place and will be looking down on his precious family from the heavens above.

    One day we will all meet him again and it will be Jerry there to walk the journey into eternal life with us saying, “It’s about time – I’ve been waiting for you.”

    Jerry – rest in peace my dear brother – you will never be forgotten. You will forever be missed.

    Much Love, Margie (Stilts)

    1. Margie,
      Thanks for you reply. I have so many good memories of Jerry that I will always remember. My college days were probably the best years of my life! Three of us, Jerry, Steve Detjen, and myself were almost inseparable for those years. I look back and I really do think that those were “the good old days”!

      My whole family got to know Jerry, he and Steve were in wedding, and they all loved him. He would come to our family gatherings in the 80’s like he was one of us. He would stop down at the Fresno Sheriffs Dept., where my sister was the records supervisor, and sit at her desk and visit every time he was in the area.

      But what I most admired about Jerry was that he was genuine, honest, and a true friend. There was no pretense in his personality, even when he had risen to the position of Chief of Police. Jerry was always just Jerry, my friend!

      I will always remember the good old days at CSUF, with Jerry, Steve, and me! I feel very honored to have been able to call Jerry Dean Noblett my friend!

      Go rest high on that mountain, Jerry. Your work on Earth is done!

  5. That was very nice. Jerry was a very kind man and will be sorely in our families and the community. There are so many things that I want to say but just can’t get the words out. I’m glad that I got to see him Sunday and talk. He has been in our family for so long and I just can’t believe that he is gone.

    Marty is my sister and all of us are totally devastated.

    1. Kristi,

      The tribute that I wrote for Jerry came straight from my heart. Jerry was without a doubt the finest man I have ever met. He was genuine, honest and a true friend. His family and the whole City of Madera will miss his presence.

      My thoughts and prayers are with Marty, Jason, and his family as the healing process starts.

  6. That was very nice. Jerry was a very kind man and will be sorely in our families and the community. There are so many things that I want to say but just can’t get the words out. I’m glad that I got to see him Sunday and talk. He has been in our family for so long and I just can’t believe that he is gone.

    Marty is my sister and all of us are totally devastated.

    1. Kristi,

      The tribute that I wrote for Jerry came straight from my heart. Jerry was without a doubt the finest man I have ever met. He was genuine, honest and a true friend. His family and the whole City of Madera will miss his presence.

      My thoughts and prayers are with Marty, Jason, and his family as the healing process starts.

  7. Hi Leon,

    I want to thank you for such a nice tribute to Jerry. I don’t think he realized just how many poeple he touched. I have been and still am very proud of him, he was someone who always did what he thought was the right thing to do. We had a couple of rough spots, but we both knew that we were meant to be together. We found in each other our soulmates, and I know in my heart that he is and always will be the love of my life. I miss him so much, I just don’t know what I’m going to do without him. I have a very hard time believing he is not here anymore.

    You have been a good friend and he always enjoyed talking with you, you could always make him laugh.

    1. Marty,
      Jerry was the best friend that I ever had. Our college days will always be the best days of my life! Even though Jerry and I weren’t in contact on a regular basis, I always knew what was going on with him. He would regularly stop at my sister’s office at Fresno S.O. to talk with her and she would relay to me the news.

      My parents loved Jerry like he was one of their own, as did my brothers and sister. When Jerry took time off work to attend my Father’s funeral back in 1995, I REALLY appreciated that more than he ever knew! That is a true sign of the kind of friend and man Jerry was!

      As I have said in my tribute to “The Chief”, he had a big impact on my life and I know that he had a big impact on most everyone who knew him!

      I will never forget Jerry, his big Cheshire cat grin, and his hearty laugh!

      You,Jason and his family will be in our prayers.

      I will be there Monday to honor him and to say “so long” to my old friend.

  8. Hi Leon,

    I want to thank you for such a nice tribute to Jerry. I don’t think he realized just how many poeple he touched. I have been and still am very proud of him, he was someone who always did what he thought was the right thing to do. We had a couple of rough spots, but we both knew that we were meant to be together. We found in each other our soulmates, and I know in my heart that he is and always will be the love of my life. I miss him so much, I just don’t know what I’m going to do without him. I have a very hard time believing he is not here anymore.

    You have been a good friend and he always enjoyed talking with you, you could always make him laugh.

    1. Marty,
      Jerry was the best friend that I ever had. Our college days will always be the best days of my life! Even though Jerry and I weren’t in contact on a regular basis, I always knew what was going on with him. He would regularly stop at my sister’s office at Fresno S.O. to talk with her and she would relay to me the news.

      My parents loved Jerry like he was one of their own, as did my brothers and sister. When Jerry took time off work to attend my Father’s funeral back in 1995, I REALLY appreciated that more than he ever knew! That is a true sign of the kind of friend and man Jerry was!

      As I have said in my tribute to “The Chief”, he had a big impact on my life and I know that he had a big impact on most everyone who knew him!

      I will never forget Jerry, his big Cheshire cat grin, and his hearty laugh!

      You,Jason and his family will be in our prayers.

      I will be there Monday to honor him and to say “so long” to my old friend.

  9. Thanks Capt for writing your article on Jerry. He was a great guy and I always enjoyed talking to him when he would take time to come over to the house to see everyone. I didn’t know him like you did, but I could tell he was a good man and loved people. I will remember him as someone who always had a good time with people. He will be missed for sure. To all his family, may the good Lord bless and keep you and give you peace in your time of bereavement.

    Jerry Hammack

  10. Thanks Capt for writing your article on Jerry. He was a great guy and I always enjoyed talking to him when he would take time to come over to the house to see everyone. I didn’t know him like you did, but I could tell he was a good man and loved people. I will remember him as someone who always had a good time with people. He will be missed for sure. To all his family, may the good Lord bless and keep you and give you peace in your time of bereavement.

    Jerry Hammack

  11. Thank you for posting this memorial to Mr. Noblett. My name is Krissy and I’m Steve Detjen’s daughter. I have many wonderful childhood memories of Mr. Noblett and was sad when Dad said he’d passed. When Mr. Holdcroft passed away, I got to thinking how I had grown up among these knights in shining armor and Mr. Noblett was just that, one of the giant knights of my childhood. He will be missed and my prayers go to Mrs. Noblett and Jason.

  12. Thank you for posting this memorial to Mr. Noblett. My name is Krissy and I’m Steve Detjen’s daughter. I have many wonderful childhood memories of Mr. Noblett and was sad when Dad said he’d passed. When Mr. Holdcroft passed away, I got to thinking how I had grown up among these knights in shining armor and Mr. Noblett was just that, one of the giant knights of my childhood. He will be missed and my prayers go to Mrs. Noblett and Jason.

  13. I think all of the Hammack family loved Jerry as a brother. He would come to our family reunions (Mary too!!) and join in all the fun, laughter and sillyness.
    When Jerry began his career with the Madera PD, I lived in Madera raising my five children. Jerry would make the headlines, usually some sort of arrest and it would turn sideways. Jerry eventually started working out to become stronger during such times of confrontation. As time passed, Jerry made many trips downtown to Fresno So where I worked, meeting with the Sheriff and other SO personnel. I was always excited to see him come to HQ and would get a few minutes of his time updating him on Leon and our family.
    I am so sad that Jerry didn’t get the transplant that he so desperately needed, he is to young to leave his family behind. My heart goes out to Marty and Jason, you had a great husband and father. Jason, your son can be so proud to have been born into a loving family and to be part of all the good things your father did for Madera.
    I got the news about Jerry the day I landed in Alaska. When I read Leon’s text I was shocked and sad that I couldn’t get home to attend the funeral. My family loved Jerry and I loved having him visit my home when Leon was here; my folks could spend time with both buddies.
    We will see Jerry again

    Zeeva Hammack

  14. I think all of the Hammack family loved Jerry as a brother. He would come to our family reunions (Mary too!!) and join in all the fun, laughter and sillyness.
    When Jerry began his career with the Madera PD, I lived in Madera raising my five children. Jerry would make the headlines, usually some sort of arrest and it would turn sideways. Jerry eventually started working out to become stronger during such times of confrontation. As time passed, Jerry made many trips downtown to Fresno So where I worked, meeting with the Sheriff and other SO personnel. I was always excited to see him come to HQ and would get a few minutes of his time updating him on Leon and our family.
    I am so sad that Jerry didn’t get the transplant that he so desperately needed, he is to young to leave his family behind. My heart goes out to Marty and Jason, you had a great husband and father. Jason, your son can be so proud to have been born into a loving family and to be part of all the good things your father did for Madera.
    I got the news about Jerry the day I landed in Alaska. When I read Leon’s text I was shocked and sad that I couldn’t get home to attend the funeral. My family loved Jerry and I loved having him visit my home when Leon was here; my folks could spend time with both buddies.
    We will see Jerry again

    Zeeva Hammack

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