In Loving Memory

Helen “Jerri” Dwan

June 22, 1931 – December 20, 2023

Courtesy of the Dwan Family

Helen “Jerri” Dwan

Born in Pittsfield, Maine to James and Sophia Giftos, Helen “Jerri” Dwan passed away peacefully in Newport Beach at the age of 92.

A graduate of Pittsfield High School and Bryant College, Jerri attended George Washington University. She was employed in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Defense for International Security Affairs in Washington, D.C., and it was there that fate intertwined her path with Col. John E. Dwan II (“Jack”). Their love story blossomed shortly thereafter while they were both members of the United States Delegation to the Geneva Conference and attended as members of the U.S. Defense Department’s delegation to the Paris Conference.

Jerri loved to travel and toured Europe on her own after the Paris Conference. Upon returning to Washington D.C., she and Jack were married in 1955, a marriage that endured for 46 years until Jack’s passing in 2001.

Shortly after their marriage, Jerri moved to Tokyo to be close to Jack during his assignment in Korea. Future moves took them to Honolulu, where son Brad was born; Carlisle, Pa., where daughter Kimberly was born and eventually back to Washington D.C., where Jerri became an avid tennis player by day and a graceful hostess by night, entertaining various domestic and foreign dignitaries in her home in support of Jack’s Army career.

In 1969, Jerri and family moved to Corona del Mar. She quickly immersed herself in the community’s tapestry. She was a devoted mother supporting her children in all of their school activities. She quickly climbed the tennis ladder at the Balboa Bay Club Racquet Club, supported the family’s sailing adventures at the Newport Harbor Yacht Club and developed a passion for the arts.

Jerri’s passion for the arts shone brightly through her involvement as a founding member of the Newport Harbor Art Museum’s Sales and Rental Gallery, her longstanding membership in the Decorative Arts Society and her work as a volunteer with Angels of the Arts. Never one to sit still, when her children went to college, Jerri obtained her interior design license and founded Dwan Designs, a hobby that quickly turned into a successful business.

Her family appreciated her love of nature and how she tended with such care to her rose garden. Her home was always filled with freshly cut roses which reflected her own elegance and beauty.

Jerri will be deeply missed by her son, Brad (Leslie); her daughter, Kimberly (Bob); her sister, Kathy (Dave); her grandchildren, Connor (Liz); Tori (Zach); and Tanner, as well as her great-grandchildren: Liam, Jack, Drew, Carter and Russell. She is preceded in death by her loving husband, Jack, and her sister, Athena Garivaltis.

In honor of Jerri’s request, the celebration of her life will be a private ceremony with only close family members present.

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