Jerry Halpin and his wife Helen settled in Jackson Hole when they purchased Lost Creek Ranch in 1969. The property sits inside Grand Teton National Park’s eastern border and is surrounded by both park and national forest land. The views across the Teton Range to the west are spectacular—leaving no question as to how Jerry developed a deep passion for protecting this special valley.
Jerry was the driving force behind the creation of Grand Teton National Park Foundation in 1997. He served as the founding board chair of the organization, and worked closely with the park’s superintendent at the time—Jack Neckels—to gather a group of influential locals to raise private funds for a new visitor center in the park. This dream was realized ten years later when the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center opened to the public in August 2007. Jerry’s incredible vision launched the Foundation into supporting a variety of other programs and projects in Grand Teton, and contributed significantly to the $65 million that the organization has raised since the first meeting in Jerry’s living room more than two decades ago.
Before moving to Lost Creek Ranch full-time, Jerry was a successful businessman and real estate developer from the Washington D.C. area. During his impressive career, he founded or led more than one hundred real estate corporations and partnerships, including the notable business center of Tyson’s Corner in Virginia—the 11th largest commercial district in the United States. His local development projects demonstrated Jerry’s love of wild places and concern for the environment by always containing extensive open space and maintaining critical wildlife corridors.
Jerry’s extraordinary vision paved the way for the Foundation’s twenty years of successful partnership with Grand Teton National Park, which we celebrated at Lost Creek Ranch this past summer. He was laid to rest at the ranch, looking toward the Teton Range that he loved so much. Jerry will be greatly missed but his legacy will continue to impact the millions of visitors to Grand Teton for decades to come.