SAN BERNARDINO - Gerald "Jerry" Mohney earned an honor guard with bagpipes and drums for his 36 years with the San Bernardino Fire Department, but a slideshow at his funeral Tuesday began with the rebellious soundtrack of "Bad to the Bone."

The two-hour ceremony featured coworkers and family members remembering Mohney, a fire engineer and one-time vice president of the San Bernardino City Professional Firefighters union, as loyal, hard-working - and crusty.

Longtime firefighters said Mohney often laced his statements with expletives, and back when wardrobe regulations were more lax he would wear a T-shirt declaring "I hate rookies."

But after he worked with them, rookies and much of the rest of the Fire Department saw Mohney as one of their closest friends, said retired Fire Captain Ken Mosely.

Acting San Bernardino Fire Chief Paul Drasil, left, and Murrieta firefighter Sean DeGrave perform the Presentation of the Flag to Linda Mohney during the
Acting San Bernardino Fire Chief Paul Drasil, left, and Murrieta firefighter Sean DeGrave perform the Presentation of the Flag to Linda Mohney during the funeral of her husband Gerald, a retired fire engineer, Tuesday in San Bernardino. (Khai Le/Correspondent)

"He taught me so much in the 12 years we worked together, I hope he knows how much I appreciate him," Mosely said. "There's a bond between all firefighters, but it's even stronger with my brother Jerry."

Mohney died Dec. 13 at 63 after a short fight with brain cancer, his wife Linda said. He began working for the department in 1974, after stints at a few jobs and in the Army.

Mark B. Shaw Chapel was packed with about 200 people he'd met through the Fire Department, car club and shooting range, who sometimes sniffled and often chuckled during a eulogy written by Linda and delivered by Chaplain Mike Whittaker.

"He was really a sentimental kind of guy and didn't like seeing the end of movies like Dances with Wolves or Braveheart, because they were about losing your best friend," Whittaker said. "But boy, did he like his Westerns."

Mohney's cowboy credo - "be kind to old people, be kinid to children and be kind to dogs" - was noted several times.

"As much as Jerry would like people to think he was half redneck and half cowboy," said his brother-in-law Steve DeGrave, "he was actually straight and narrow and always did what was right."

That didn't prevent him from having some fun, though, said DeGrave, who met Mohney before his first date with Linda at a bachelor party.

Acting San Bernardino Fire Chief Paul Drasil, front, and Mohney’s nephew, Murrieta firefighter Sean DeGrave, perform the Presentation of the Flag
Acting San Bernardino Fire Chief Paul Drasil, front, and Mohney's nephew, Murrieta firefighter Sean DeGrave, perform the Presentation of the Flag during the funeral of Gerald Mohney, a retired fire engineer, Tuesday in San Bernardino. (Khai Le/Correspondent)

The two shared "a drink or three" and when the police showed up, scrambled in unison over a wall and into a neighbor's yard.

That was one of many adventures they had through the years, but through it all Mohney was a great role model for his daughter Stephanie, niece and nephew, who followed Mohney's example and became a firefighter in Murrieta, DeGrave said.

"Jerry was the perfect uncle for my kids," he said. "The love and pride he had for them was obvious and never required words."


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