Gerald Jennings; Ran Wheelchair Firm

A memorial service has been scheduled Friday at 2 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Santa Monica for Gerald M. Jennings, chairman of the world's largest manufacturer of wheelchairs.

Jennings was 70 when he died Sunday at UCLA Medical Center of congestive heart failure.

The Everest & Jennings medical supplies corporation, now based in Camarillo, was started in a family garage in Los Angeles by Jennings' father. Gerald Jennings once estimated that while he was at Everest & Jennings, the company produced 3 million wheelchairs.

Born in Topeka, Kan., Jennings moved to California as a youngster and later attended Santa Monica College and the Montana School of Mines. He planned to become a career officer after World War II military service but returned home instead to help his father's fledgling wheelchair business.

Jennings retired as president in 1985 but continued as chairman.

Jennings was on the boards of directors of First Federal Bank of California from 1967-89 and for a decade before that at Santa Monica Bank. He was chairman of the board of trustees of Santa Monica Hospital Medical Center and chairman of the board of directors of the Santa Monica Hospital Medical Center Foundation.

He was also chairman of the UCLA School of Dentistry's board of counselors and benefactor of the school's Wilson, Jennings, Bloomfield Dental Clinic in Venice. He served on the UCLA Medical Center board of advisers.

Jennings is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, and two sons.

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