The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

January 9, 2013

Jack (John W.) Gerard

The Daily Star

---- — Jack (John W.) Gerard

COOPERSTOWN — Jack (John W.) Gerard of Cooperstown, passed away on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013, at Otsego Manor in Cooperstown.

Jack, who was raised in Mamaroneck, was born in New Rochelle, to parents James C. and Anna C. (Magrino) Gerard, on Sept. 20, 1933.

He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Donna (Swartz) Gerard; and their daughter, Holly Gerard, both of Cooperstown; along with his three sons and their families, Gregory and wife Amy Gerard of Rifton, Jeffrey and wife Cris Gerard of New Paltz, and David and wife Maria Gerard of Durham, N.H. He was also blessed with two grandchildren, Nicholas Gerard of Rifton, and Ada Mae Gerard of Durham, N.H.; as well as many nephews, nieces, sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law.

The youngest child in a family of eight children, Jack was predeceased by not only his parents, but also by two brothers, (James and Michael Gerard); and three sisters, Marie Brownell, Lucille Campbell and Rose McGoey.

He is survived by two sisters, Marguerite McDonough of Vineyard Haven, Mass., and Gloria Curry of Arlington, Va.

Jack graduated from Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, before enlisting in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War era. After his military duty, he attended the prestigious music conservatory, Manhattan School of Music in New York City, where he received his bachelor’s degree in Music Performance (with a major in brass instruments and harmony), and his master’s degree in Music (with a major in education). He furthered his education with advanced credits in administration, supervision and guidance at City College of New York, NYC.

Jack taught instrumental music at the Scarborough Day School in Scarborough, the White Plains Conservatory of Music in White Plains, the Neighborhood School of Music, Bronx, High School of Music and Art in NYC, the Riverdale School of Music in Riverdale, and in Greenburgh Central School District #7 in Hartsdale.

He was the acting music chairman in the New York City Public School’s JHS 98, Bronx, from 1961 to 1965; the acting assistant principal in New York City Public School’s JHS 145, Bronx. He was also the music supervisor and coordinator, as well as teacher trainer at JHS 145, from 1966 to 1968, as well as the Dean of Boys for one year during his tenure at JHS 145.

In his “spare time” while living in NYC, he was the assistant conductor of the All-Boro Band, Bronx, from 1967 to 1968, and a music education instructor at Manhattanville College, Purchase, during the summer of 1968.

He performed professionally as well, “going on the road” with The Sam Donahue big band at a tender age; performing with the Band of America (Paul Lavalle, conductor), including at the 1964 World’s Fair; with the Moscow Philharmonic (during USA appearances); with the Westchester Philharmonic, the Manhattan Orchestra, and the U.S. Navy Band (1953 to 1955). Jack sat “in the pits” of many Broadway shows, was actively employed as a free-lance musician in NYC and the tri-state area, and played for television commercials while in NYC.

His varied musical career had him lecturing at Manhattanville College, Purchase, performing as soloist for the premiere of “Electronic Composition for Trombone and Tape Recorder,” at Donnell Library, NYC; contracting performers for musical accompaniment for many world-famous acts such as the Royal Lippizan Stallion Show; conducting the Shrine Circus Band in Syracuse, leading his own band “The Brass Creation” for several decades; and repairing musical instruments for Holley Music in both New Paltz and Cooperstown.

In his “retirement” years Jack taught instrumental music privately, and is fondly remembered by so many students. Many of his private students, as well as his public-school students, have remained in contact with him, including several going back to his very first year of teaching! He taught his students ALL about music, rather than “just” about their particular instrument. More importantly, he taught them about discipline, perseverance and respect. His influence on their lives on.     

Jack was a member of St. Mary’s “Our Lady of the Lake” Roman Catholic Church, Cooperstown. His memorial Mass of Christian burial will be offered there at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan, 19, 2013, co-officiated by Father John P. Rosson, pastor and Father Andrew Cryans. All are encouraged to share your memories of Jack.

There will be no calling hours. Interment in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Index will be at a later date.

As an alternative to flowers, the family requests that you please make a donation to the Susquehanna SPCA, 4841 State Highway 28, Cooperstown, N.Y. 13326, ( and plant a tree or flower in your own yard for him this summer.

Arrangements are under the supervision of Tillapaugh Funeral Service, Cooperstown.