Custodian witnesses positive transformation

Steward reflects on 25 years of employment

By Tobias Cheng, Staff Writer

“How would I describe his laugh? If you knew him, he had a laugh like nobody else. He always had a smile on his face,” custodian Donna Ericson said.

Jeryl Landers, a custodian who had been working at Contra Costa College for 25 years, retired at the age of 61 in December as one of many retiring from working at the college.

Landers is one of nine faculty and staff members who either have retired recently or is planning to retire after this semester.

Custodians may fly under the radar, but without them, the college would not be as pleasant a place.

They not only empty trash cans and keep the campus clean, but also help set up for events around campus and perform maintenance.

Landers said when he was young, he worked as a short order cook at various restaurants such as IHOP. However, cooking was not his passion.

After about 10 years of working in restaurants, he said, “I was getting tired of cooking.”

At that point, Landers started his career in the field of maintenance.

His work brought him to many schools, eventually ending up at CCC when he was 36, in 1990.

Stan Porter, custodian, said Landers came to CCC “as a substitute (and) eventually got hired full time.”

He said he stayed at CCC for so long because he not only liked the staff and employees, but the students as well.

Landers said, “I liked watching the students set their goals (and) accomplish them. Some students come back as professors,” he said.

He also said he liked watching the campus change over the years, both in terms of new buildings and of the people.

Landers said he enjoyed “watching the campus over the years, how it transformed to bigger and better things.”

“I have a wife and three kids (who all did well),” Landers said. “My wife was looking to retire at the same time (but had to continue working longer). “(My wife and I) continue to travel a lot.”

“Jeryl watched his grandchildren after work for his daughter,” Custodial Manager Darlene Poe said. “He’s a great family man. He has a big heart.

“He’d give people money for food if they had none.” She said Landers told her a lot of stories about his life.

Poe said, “He would do anything for anybody. Anybody. If a co-worker needed something, he’d help.”

“He had a big smile. Always had a smile on his face. Very sweet person,” Ericson said. She worked with Landers for 22 years.

Porter said Landers was easy to work with. “He was definitely well liked.”

Poe said, “Jeryl helped with everything. He went above and beyond.

“He was the nicest person you could ever work with. (I am) really gonna miss him. Wish I could clone him.”