Even in death, Gerry Ayers marched to the beat of his own drum. Or maybe a better way to say it is that he drove to the sound of his own music. He was truly one of the good guys that just had a little different approach to life than most, or maybe I should say all. Gerry was as genuine as the classic automobiles he kept inside his house.
As I read his column “Time to Say Goodbye” that appeared in last week’s Webb Weekly I honestly didn’t think he’d pass so soon, Gerry always seemed to have those nine lives, and even when he was on the brink, he would bounce back. Little did I know he would leave us before his last column would reach your eyes.
This, however, seems exactly how Gerry would have wanted it. He figured out a way to reach us even after he had left God’s green earth. It also tells us a lot about who Gerry was as a person. Even as he was approaching the end, he made sure we got his last column and left us in his own unique way.
He was very passionate about cars, tennis, young folks, and penning his column. I remember when he held a writing camp for kids at the James V. Brown Library a few years back. I’ll never forget the energy and pride in his voice when he told me about the event. I only wish he could have done a lot more things like this. He just loved teaching kids, especially the sport he loved, tennis.
As he stared death in the eyes, he even used that as an opportunity to teach us all. ‘Gerry’s Journey,’ which appeared on WNEP gave him the opportunity to share with us his fight against cancer, and the perspective of losing his life to the disease. Thank you to WNEP for allowing him to do this.
Gerry’s ‘Jaded Eye’ column appeared in the Webb Weekly for over a decade. It was vintage Gerry, you just never knew what he would write about, and he always did it with his own unique style. Most importantly, Gerry had the ability to make you laugh, cry and — most of all think— in these trying times. And they are his words from his last column from beyond. To me, that is exactly who Gerry was, someone who wanted to make a difference by connecting his pen to his thoughts about life and sharing them with us. He ended his final column with a thank you all for everything! Love Gerry.
I wish I had gotten the chance to tell Gerry thank you, for being you, and providing us the view from your jaded eye. It was me and my Father’s privilege to have you as part of the Webb Weekly family, and share your writings with the world. Love you, my friend. Godspeed.
The other lesson Gerry shared with us is that when someone has cancer never assume they have another day. This is something I’ve experienced way too often in recent years. Only the Good Lord knows when it’s time for them to leave their pain and this world behind.
Please never wait to see a family member, friend, or loved one that is fighting their final round against that dreaded disease. Don’t assume they’ll be there tomorrow based upon a doctor’s estimate of time. They also often leave us before their death. For your own peace try to have that last visit a little early rather than too late.
Thank you to everyone who loved Gerry right back. For your cards, calls, prayers, and words of caring. Even though you may have never met him, he became like family to you through his words. This meant more to him than any words could ever explain.
My prayers and condolences to Gerry’s family and friends. He would want you to be at peace and share the stories of his life with anybody who will listen. He would also want you to take great care of his cars. Knowing Gerry, he’s probably trying to figure out a way to come back and check on them.
Tip of my Webb Weekly cap to Coach Sean Tetreault’s A – Muncy Indians, Coach JC Keefer’s 3A – Montoursville Warriors, and Coach Tom Gravish’s 4A – Jersey Shore Bulldogs. All three won District IV Football Championships at their respective levels. For all the injuries and adversity local teams faced this season, they still brought home three gold medals for the West Branch Valley. There’s a lot of good to be said about the programs in our area, the young athletes that play the game, and the coaches that lead them. By the PIAA going to six classifications, it has also helped spread our local teams out. So they are not eliminating each other.
At press time, the Montoursville Warriors were the lone local team left standing in the State Tournament. Coach Keefer’s crew was getting ready to take on Scranton Prep in the State 3A Quarter Finals. Prep knocked Loyalsock out of the running for a State Crown last season. Hopefully, as you’re reading this, the boys from the other side of the creek have won and moved on. Thank you to all the folks that make Friday Night Lights so special in our area.
One last football note. Another thank you to all the sports fans that brought to my attention that I fumbled when I referred to Barry Sanders as “Sweetness” last week. It was Chicago Bears’ Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton who earned the “Sweetness” nickname, not Sanders. Maybe I need to enter the NFL’s concussion protocol because I have no idea how I did that.
God Bless America.