A celebration of life with military honors will be held on Sunday, July 10, at 2 p.m. at the South Dayton American Legion Post 1593 for past Cattaraugus County Commander, Gerald Ray. All friends and family are invited to attend.
Jerry joined the U.S. Navy when he was 17 and served in active duty and the Reserves until his retirement in 2007 on his 60th birthday. He served as Post 1593 American Legion commander in addition to his Cattaraugus County offices.
Jerry was a true Renaissance man. He taught middle school industrial arts at Fredonia for 20 years before he went back to school to prepare for his second career as a registered nurse, in the ER and ICU, working in both New York and Florida. He also operated a family owned sheetmetal business where he repaired farm equipment and fabricated and installed duct work for furnaces. He volunteered many years for Forestville and South Dayton Fire Departments as a firefighterand an advanced EMT. He taught numerous classes including Farmedic classes and advanced EMT. He also served as the exalted ruler of the South Hillsborough Elks Lodge 6272 and as president of the Elks Riders who will present the Gerald Ray Memorial Award to future outstanding Elks riders.
Jerry loved to travel, especially on cruises. For many years he lived on a houseboat on Chautauqua Lake during the summer. He piloted the Summer Wind and was a master sea captain. He was a Harley enthusiast who loved traveling the country on his cycle. His last long ride was a two day trip to New Hampshire, in the pouring rain. Although he had been treated for cancer for 20 years, he never let it get him down and he found joy in every day. His sense of humor and love of adventure will live on in those he leaves behind.
Those who remain to treasure his memory include his mother, Berdena Merrill; his twin sister, Cheryl Volk; his loving wife of more than 50 years, Anne; his beloved, daughter Melissa Johnson (Bruce); his dear son, Steven; and grandchildren: Benjamin and Sarah.
He was predeceased by his father, Richard Ray; and his much loved son, Michael.
Jerry was 74 when he passed away on March 4, 2022 from injuries sustained in a fall in December 2021.
If desired memorials can be made to Doctors Without Borders or the charity of your choice in Jerry’s memory.