Donald Raphael Gerarde
Donald Raphael Gerarde (Don), 95, resident of Amelia Island went to be with the Good Lord on Friday morning, June 11th, 2021 with his devoted wife Cornelia (Corky) by his side.
Don was born in Hartford, Connecticut on December 1, 1925 to Elizabeth and Donald A. Gerarde. He attended catholic and military academies until the age of 18. Don then immediately enlisted with the Army Air Corps to serve the country he loved during World War II. While serving our country, he achieved the rating of sharp shooter and became a gunner, (sperry ball), on B-17s and B-29s.
Don was then stationed on the South Pacific islands of Tinian and Saipan. Following the release of atomic bombs on Japan, Don’s squadron was a part of the major show of force circling above the signing of the peace treaty.
After being discharged from the military service, Don went to college on the GI Bill. He attended SUNY at Plattsburgh and then transferred to the University of Connecticut where he received The Bachelor of Science Mechanical Engineering Degree. From there, he went on to a lengthy career at Pratt and Whitey, (United Tech), in Hartford, Connecticut. Don worked his way to Quality Control on aircraft engines. During his last years with Pratt, Don was their representative for International Aircraft Engines (AIE) producing engines with Japan and European countries.
After retirement, Don and Corky moved to Amelia Island in 1996. During retirement, he enjoyed instrument-rated piloting, many sports, walking on the beach and spending his time with Corky and their precious dog, Cheyanne. He was also a member of the local Civil Air Patrol and Coast Guard Auxiliary. Don loved to travel, especially going back to Connecticut to visit his large Italian family!
Don is predeceased by his brother, Rocco V. Gerarde and sister, Patria Forsythe.
Don is survived by his loving wife Corky; his sister, Angela Bozzuto; his children, Cynthia Greenblatt (Howie), Joyce Anne Sperry, Thomas Gerarde (Patricia); nine grandchildren; four great grandchildren and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Don was a devoted member of St. Michael Catholic Church and a lifetime member of the Knights of Columbus St. Michael Council 14295.
Visitation will be from 5:00 to 7:00 pm on Monday, June 21st at Oxley-Heard Funeral Home with the Holy Rosary being prayed at 6:00pm.
Funeral Mass will be at 11:00 am on Tuesday, June 22nd at St. Michael Catholic Church.
Graveside Service will be at 11:00 am on Friday, June 25th at Bosque Bello Cemetery.