WILMINGTON – Wilmington native, Jerry Waldorf, father, husband, avid sailor, scuba diver and fisherman crossed the bar into open water for the last time Monday, Aug. 29, at Lower Cape Fear Hospice. He was a true waterman.
Beginning at an early age, he and many close friends could be found shark fishing, not for the little ones, but for the really big ones, using tackle reserved for only the largest of fish. Often when caught on a pier, they would climb down a rope to tag the live thrashing shark adding to the adventure (there are pictures). Scuba was also important to Jerry, having visited many of the wrecks off North Carolina before they were commonly known, staying out for days on M/V Challenger. Diving continued on his most recent adventure, which began in 2009 by crossing the bar at Masonboro Inlet, then sailing throughout the Caribbean, traversing the Panama Canal, exploring both hemispheres of the Pacific to pause in the Philippines.
His professional life began as a mechanical engineer, working for Carolina Power and Light Co, primarily at the Brunswick Nuclear Plant. He was part of Brunswick’s first class of senior reactor operators and was instrumental in the first reactor startup. He quickly rose within the ranks holding several key positions before retiring and becoming an industry consultant.
He cherished most his role of “Dad.” He loved his daughter, Anakelea Waldorf, from the day she was born. Together they shared a strong mutual love for the sea with Mr. Waldorf passing on his knowledge of diving, spear fishing and sailing to Anakelea. Additionally, he always supported her surfing endeavors.
On his last sailing adventure he met Svitlana Gushcha, in the Pacific. They married and, along with stepson Nikita, began a trip across the United States until they could return to S/V Challenger.
Additionally, Jerry is survived by his daughter, Anakelea Waldorf, and many nephews, nieces, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents, Russell and Gloria Waldorf and sister, Debbie Waldorf Reid.
He made the most of his 69 years.
A celebration of his life will be held at the Hanover Seaside Club, 601 S. Lumina Ave., Wrightsville Beach, NC, Saturday, Sept. 3 at 6 p.m., a place dear to him. His ashes will be scattered at sea.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Lower Cape Fear Hospice or the Friends of the NC Maritime Museum at Southport.