Present and past firefighters, as well as residents, family and friends, honored former Rocky River fire Chief Jack Gerson during a memorial service at the McGorray-Hanna Funeral Home on Oct. 11. Gerson died Oct. 8 at the age of 79.
Hired on May 12, 1962, by the Rocky River fire division, Gerson was promoted to lieutenant Aug. 30, 1968. He became a captain April 23, 1981, and was promoted to chief April 20, 1987. Prior to his retirement in February 1994, he helped bring the first ladder truck to the department.
A Rocky River resident until the time of his death, Gerson was noted for his leadership of the department, and loved the outdoors as an avid fisherman and hunter.
“I will be grateful forever because he hired me,” remarked Lt. Kevin Bednarski. He said that 11 of Gerson’s hires are still with the department.
He is survived by his sister, Pat Graves; sons Gregg (Pat), Bill McGrath, Mike McGrath (Lori), Gus (Stacey) and Jay; daughters Anne Crute (Bill), Laura Starke (Tom), Joan Lefkof (Jeff), Beth Hughes (John) and Molly Steininger (Mike); 17 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
The family suggests memorial contributions be made to The Gathering Place, 800 Sharon Drive in Westlake, or the Cleveland Animal Protective League, 1729 Willey Ave.