Jerry Baric, owner of Aurora Electric Solutions, died at his home in Vineyard Haven on June 12. He was 48. A resident of Martha’s Vineyard since 2004, he was born on Jan. 9, 1970 in Czechoslovakia and held degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering from the Military Academy of that nation.

Jerry’s was the story of the American Dream. He arrived in the U.S. in 2001 unable to speak English, but quickly taught himself the basics then relentlessly worked on improving his speaking skills. Friends fondly recall him stopping them in the midst of a conversation to ask the meaning of a particular word or phrase, then practicing it over and over to make sure it stuck. Often, he brought tears of laughter to friends with stories about the mistakes he made while learning English.

After arriving on the Island he worked for Powers Electric as he studied for and was then awarded his Master Electricians Licenses in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Florida.

In 2010 he founded Aurora Electric Solutions, whose white and blue trucks dotted the Island as they made their rounds working for residents, builders, architects and contractors such as Andrew Flake, Hutker Architects and Brennan and Company. Often Jerry was behind the wheel, always with a smile and a wave for friends.

In 2017 and again in 2018 Jerry and his Aurora team won the coveted Best of the Vineyard award for their work. Boston’s Builder+Architect magazine, in a 2015 article on Aurora, credited the team for its “can-do attitude, ever-present smiles and setting the gold standard for top-flight customer service.”

Known for his creative problem-solving, Jerry explained he developed the skill while growing up under a communist regime in Czechoslovakia. “You couldn’t walk into a store and buy whatever you needed,” he explained. “You had to make the most of whatever you could find and figure it out from there.”

Even after moving to America and becoming a U.S. citizen he never lost touch with his friends in the Czech Republic. They were lifetime friends and he reveled in recounting his days in the military where he served as a photographer, spent many nights in the darkroom and produced a huge photo chronicle of days together in the army.

Each summer his two sons, Dominik and David, visited the Vineyard where they worked summer jobs during the week and spent weekends camping and kayaking with their father. Son Dominik defended his thesis and was awarded his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering two days after his father’s death. Son David is pursuing his civil engineering degree. No wonder Jerry often noted they were his “proudest accomplishment and greatest source of joy.”

And each year Jerry’s mother, Zdenka, also visited the Vineyard. A woman of tiny stature but gigantic energy, she helped him restore his house and shared her love and knowledge of gardening and plants.

He shared his life with his longtime partner, Susan Garrett, whom he called “my Susan” and with whom he shared sunrise kayak trips, adventures off-Island in the RV he renovated, and countless quiet evenings. On one memorable trip to Provincetown, Jerry told Susan that singing karaoke was on his

bucket list. When they returned to the Vineyard, he picked a song and started practicing. A few weeks later, they were back in Provincetown. Jerry took the stage and, complete with a feather boa, sang It’s Raining Men. He brought down the house.

As Jerry so often said, “In America everything is possible.”

He is survived by his mother, Zdenka Baricova Baric, his father, Dionyz Baric, and his sons, Dominik and David Baric, all of the Czech Republic, and his partner, Susan Garrett of Oak Bluffs.

A potluck celebration of Jerry’s life will be held on Friday, June 22 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the East Chop Beach Club, 75 East Chop Drive in Oak Bluffs.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to a Go Fund Me campaign to assist his sons at