Robert R. Gerrish, 95, a long-time resident of Potsdam, NY passed away peacefully at home on the afternoon of December 21, 2019, with the love and support of his family at his side.
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Robert was born September 21, 1924 in West New York, New Jersey, the son of the late Charles Percy and Mary Elizabeth (O’Neill) Gerrish. At the age of 8 his parents brought him to Potsdam to live with his maternal grandparents. His early education included attending Potsdam Normal School. He later earned his GED while in Georgia and a certificate in business as well. In 1949, he married Isabel Lewis in Reno, Nevada. She predeceased him on October 12, 1967.
Robert left Potsdam and high school in 1943 to work as a rodman for the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey. He remained in government service as a surveyor for his entire career, rising to the senior position of Chief of Party. During his long career Robert traveled all over the United States, working on projects that would become an integral part of the nation’s infrastructure. He led the resurveying of The Capitol in Washington, DC, trained visiting college students, and served as a consulting surveyor for the Alyeska Pipeline in Alaska. Robert enjoyed improving safety and efficiency in the workplace. He suggested crews wear brightly colored vests to alert motorists that surveyors were working nearby. His idea earned Robert a letter of commendation, a $25 savings bond, and led to the safety gear found at work sites everywhere.
After his retirement, Robert returned to Potsdam. He was a longtime communicant of St. Mary’s Catholic Church and for many years was an avid golfer. Robert was also a lifelong NY Yankees fan, and a local sports enthusiast. He cherished the times he was able to attend his grandchildren’s hockey games and cheer from the stands as their biggest fan.
Robert Gerrish is survived by his sons Michael (Carol Everin Gerrish) of Glenmont, NY, Mark Gerrish (Rhonda Rish) of Potsdam, grandchildren Robert S. Gerrish (Ashley Kerstetter Gerrish), Lianna Gerrish (Shaun Endres), Casey Gerrish, Mark Gerrish II (Kyrie Newtown), and Austie Gerrish, great-grandchildren Isabelle, Ellenor, Milo, and Birdie, his brother Charles Gerrish, and many nieces and nephews.
In addition to his wife and parents, he was predeceased by his brothers, John “Jack”, Louis, and Russell “Bud” Gerrish; and his sisters, Hilda Scheyer and E. Virginia “Ted” Loer.
Friends may call Friday, December 27, 2019 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM at the Donaldson-Seymour Funeral Home, Potsdam. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 2:00 PM at St. Mary’s Catholic Church with Rev. Stephen Rocker, celebrating. Burial will be held in the spring at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Potsdam. In lieu of flowers, those wishing may consider memorial contributions to Potsdam Humane Society or Potsdam Minor Hockey.
Robert’s entire family extends their gratitude to the many aides who provided the care and assistance that enabled him to remain at home and keep the birds and squirrels well fed: to Corey, Kayla, Mark, and especially his dear friend Patti White…thank you. May all be blessed with companions such as these.
Memories and condolences may be shared online at www.donaldsonseymour.com.