Gerald “Jerry” William Mann Sr., 76, passed away peacefully in his sleep on June 23, 2021 at his home in Ridgeway, South Carolina.
Jerry was born on August 19, 1944 in New York City to Kathryn and Lawrence Mann. His teenage years were spent swimming off the coasts of Long Island and Florida which fostered his love of marine biology. He graduated from SUNY Fredonia where he met his future bride, Dale Ann Lehman, and they married on January 24, 1970.
Jerry made his way to Upstate NY where he taught middle school earth science at Ogdensburg Free Academy for 27 years. Each year, he would take 100 of his students for a bike ride in the fall, a mountain hike in the spring, and then a canoe trip down the Oswegatchie River in early summer. His students still share stories of his love of science, nature and all things outdoors.
To say Jerry was an outdoorsman would be an understatement. Sailing, biking, farming, boat building, building a house from lumber he cut himself, sailing to the Bahamas were just a few of his adventures. He was always one to help a neighbor, family or friend if they ever needed a strong back. He was also known as a “Renaissance man” for his love of playing the guitar, ceramics, building huge bonfires, writing and reciting poetry, singing songs about sailing, and drinking red wine. He challenged people to come up with 12 big dreams a year and then to figure out how to make at least one fly. Jerry also fought for what was right & just without concern for popular opinion and often lobbied for better teacher benefits & higher pay while working at OFA.
Jerry’s love was fierce and true. His family feels blessed to have had such a strong and loving patriarch. While he is dearly missed, they are certain there was an Irish heavenly welcome home party the likes of which haven’t been seen in decades. After a 20 year battle with brain cancer, Jerry will reunite with friends and family long since past with his wild red hair, full beard hiding a mischievous smile, and holding a glass of his favorite red wine. He was a good man, a loving husband, a protective and guiding father, and a doting grandfather. He couldn’t possibly know how much he will be missed.
Jerry is survived by his bride, Dale, and their four children: Emily Miner and husband Matt; Sarah Pierce and husband George; Gerald W. Mann, Jr. and wife Angela; and Kelly Bullis and husband Chris. He was the proud grandfather of six grandchildren: Alexa, Callie, Kansas, Isaiah, William and Robert. Also surviving are Jerry’s sisters Loretta Fraccalvieri and Catherine Mann. He was preceded in death by his parents, Kathryn & Lawrence; and brothers, Lawrence Mann Jr and Kenneth Mann.
Jerry’s family will host a celebration of life party in Syracuse later this summer with family and friends. In lieu of flowers, the Mann Clan suggests donations to HeartofHospice.net or to your charity of choice. They also suggest a big meal and a hearty glass of your favorite wine.