Gerald Pethic

Obituary of Gerald S. Pethic

Gerald “Jerry” Sheldon Pethic age 92, passed away Sunday October 1st, 2023. Jerry was born in Potsdam, NY in 1931 to Ruth (Bixby) and Sheldon Pethic. Upon graduating from West High School in Rochester, NY he pursued a teaching degree at Brockport State Teachers College. It was here that he met the love of his life and future wife of 69 years, Jean Read and they wed in July of 1954. He began his teaching career in Clifton Springs, NY from 1953 to 1956, where he taught 7th and 8th grade Math and Science, coached 8-man football, and even drove the team bus. Shortly thereafter Jean and Jerry started their family: Thomas, Scott who died at infancy, and Pamela. 

In 1956, he began a 30-year teaching career as a science teacher at the Denonville and Bay Trail middle schools in Penfield NY. After retirement, he continued to serve the district as a substitute teacher for 17 additional years. He organized and chaperoned the 8th grade Toronto trips and assisted on the Washington trips for many years until his retirement. He spoke fondly of these times. He also coached wrestling, freshman baseball, and freshman football. The students, coaches, and player relationships he developed were lifelong connections. It was rare to be out with him and not hear the endearing “Hey Mr. Pethic, or Hey Coach Pethic” He always had a little gleam in his eye as he turned to see who it was and cherished these moments to reconnect. 

Outside of teaching he was an avid bowler, fisherman, golfer, poker player. die-hard Bills fan, and 50-year member of the barbershop group; The Chorus of the Genesee which he competed with internationally. He also sang with the Canton Goldenaires in the summer and fall. His dedication to these groups provided him with precious lifelong friendships. His love of music and sports were passed on to his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. He was a devoted family man who worshipped his wife, and supported his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren by attending their concerts, sporting events, family events, and later in life, streamed their activities from the comfort of his recliner. He and Jean cherished the time they spent every summer at their cottage on Higley Flow in Colton, NY, which they often referred to as their little piece of heaven. Friends and family were always welcomed, and memories were made on the deck, around the campfire, and on the beautiful Raquette River. You could often find Jerry. walking to the diner for breakfast, driving Jean up and down the hill in the golf cart, and “puttering” on the dock and in the boat. If he really went missing you could usually find him taking neighbors and their guests, skiing, tubing or for a boat ride to showcase the beautiful North Country that he loved so much. He was the best example of kindness and patience. His sense of humor always brought a smile to those around him. 

The family would like to thank his amazing caregivers who treated him like family over the past four years. He was truly blessed! 

Jerry is survived by his son, Tom (Anita Van Acker); his daughter Pamela (Russell Stark); grandchildren Aaron (Nicole) Pethic; Tricia (Ahmed Veknach) Pethic; Emily (Joseph) Fernandez: Andrew (Alia) Stark; and Allison Jean Stark, 9 great grandchildren, along with many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, infant son Scott, and wife Jean. A private family graveside service is planned. 

Friends are welcome to celebrate Jerry's life with his family on October 23rd from 3 to 6 pm at The Dolomite Lodge, 1628 Jackson Road, Penfield, NY. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Penfield Education Association Scholarship Fund, care of Marcy Reese, 60 Plains Road, Honeoye Falls, NY 14472. 

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