Local Author Jerry Schad Dies of Cancer at age 61

by on September 22, 2011 · 3 comments

in Environment, Popular, San Diego

By Ken Stone/Patch.com

Author of a dozen books, including the definitive Afoot and Afield local series, had kidney cancer.

Jerry Schad, the prolific hiking writer and former La Mesan, died Thursday at his home in downtown San Diego, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported on its website. He was 61.

“I am beyond heartbroken,” his wife, Peg Reiter, said in an email to the Union-Tribune’s Steve Schmidt, who wrote a long profile of Schad’s battle with kidney cancer.

Schad’s Afoot & Afield in San Diego County books are considered the definitive guide to local hiking. His Reader magazine column, Roam-O-Rama, began in January 1993 and ended only last July with a piece titled End of the Trail.

Mike Jones, a former publisher of Schad’s hiking books at Wilderness Press, said: “Jerry was so loved—and for many good reasons.”  Jones was publisher of his books from 1999 to 2004, he said.

Jones, who said he met Schad two or three times, recalls that a previous publisher told him that when Schad began producing the San Diego County books, he vowed that they would be the best hiking guides anyone would ever write—and would continue to be the best via updates.

“Jerry was just remarkable,” Jones said in a phone interview from his home office in Portland, OR.

Francie Sanders, a good friend of Schad’s, told La Mesa Patch that a memorial is planned. She said Schad left a request that, in lieu of flowers, donations should be sent to Friends of Balboa Park.

Reader publisher Jim Holman, in an email to La Mesa Patch, said: “I miss Jerry very much. We have been running re-runs of his old columns for a few months and probably through the end of the year.”

Holman said his free weekly publication will reprint a long Steve Sorensen story about Schad next week.

Read the rest of this article at Patch.com

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

barbara September 22, 2011 at 4:59 pm

A San Diego treasure lost far too soon. Jerry not only wrote great books and hiking guides but he walked the talk. He was kind and generous. I am so lucky to have met him on several occasions years ago. Goodbye Jerry.


Olive Groves September 22, 2011 at 11:33 pm

Goodbye Mr. Schad. He taught me how to take pictures of the stars. I thank you for your service to our beautiful community.


john September 30, 2011 at 2:27 am

Hey pick up this week’s reader, there’s a GREAT article from some years ago by a guy who accompanied Jerry on one of his “crazy” ventures. I mean that in an endearing way.
Kind of makes you wonder though, did his daring lifestyle have anything to do with him getting kidney cancer? After reading the article in the reader I can’t help but wonder, he was known to push the limits of endurance in the desert on little or no hydration, then come across water sources of questionable purity…. sounds like he was a smart guy but isn’t that really pushing your kidneys to deplete all the moisture from your body then introduce foreign substances?
Not suggesting anything other than perhaps learning from what seems to be an untimely passing. I read his column for years, never making any of the treks or knowing much about the author- which perhaps speaks for his engaging ability as a writer.


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