Gerald Lehr passed away at his home in Cave Creek, Arizona at the age of 60 on March 29, 2020. He was a devoted husband of 37 years to Arlene, and a loving father to Valerie, Jerry and Jessica.
He was born on January 12, 1960 in Manhattan, New York. He later moved to Smithtown, New York. He was the 2nd oldest of 4 children born to Mary and Gerald. At the age of 6 he moved back to Flushing, New York with his mom, and his 3 siblings, Diane, Keith and Mary.
Gerald went to a Technical School, Thomas Edison where he took up business machine repair and started his career with Savin Corporation. It was in 1979 when Gerald and Arlene met at a local discotheque named "Jerry's Disco" and they started dating at the ages of 18 (Gerald) and 17 (Arlene). Many of their lifelong friends were actually present the night that they met. Gerald and Arlene went on to marry on September 5, 1982.
His first house was in Flushing, New York (right next door to his in-laws, and the house his wife grew up in). He fixed up that house with the loving help of his mother-in-law, Louise Lazzaro and his father-in-law, John Lazzaro (predeceased and I'm sure they're together telling stories daily). While living in Flushing his three beautiful children were born, Valerie (his Angel), Gerald III/Jerry (his son and namesake), and his youngest Jessica (whom he called chicklet). In 1992, the family moved to Bellmore, Long Island. That is where they made many more life-long friends and some so close that they call family.
Gerald's interest and profound knowledge in cars brought him to later work at Liberty Mutual where he was an Insurance Adjuster for many years. He stayed in the field and moved on to other companies, General Accident, and then Geico where he remained for many years. It was through Geico that he transferred to the Phoenix, Arizona branch after visiting his lifelong friend Ari Garrel (Rosemarie) here and loving what the state had to offer. So, in August of 2000 the family moved to Arizona. They built a beautiful home where they continued to raise their children through the rest of their Elementary and High School years and later sent Valerie and Jerry off to ASU and Jessica off to NAU.
He later went on to end his career working at Ameriprise Financial where he made even more friendships that lasted well after he left work to fight his cancer. Gerald was a man who was loved by all. His sense of humor and smile would light up a room. His friends, old and new, always enjoyed being in his company. Throughout his almost 4-year battle, he was surrounded by so much love and prayers and support from his family, relatives, friends, and coworkers. We all know that is what helped him keep up the fight and battle as hard as he did.
Gerald was thrilled in January of 2018 to see his son marry his beautiful daughter-in-law Anne (Simonson). She was always a joy to him and brought the biggest smiles to his face. He was lucky to be part of Marcus Bortman's proposal to Valerie this December and thrilled to be adding him to the family. He got to celebrate their engagement in February with them. In March, Steven Thew added to that joy by asking him for his youngest daughter, Jessica's hand in marriage. So, Gerald was a happy man and proud that his 2 daughters had found the loves of their lives and that he was able to be a part of their joy and know these two wonderful men. His heart was now full. All his children were happy.
He was a true warrior, a hero, "superman" to most. He was diagnosed in July of 2016 and fought his cancer long and hard until March of 2020. He took everything that was thrown his way and fought it. When he was knocked down, he never stayed down, he got back up. He would tell us...he was going to miss us! If he only knew the hole he has left in everyone's heart and how much HE is missed. He passed away peacefully on an early Sunday morning. Gerald is survived by his wife, Arlene, son Gerald and daughter in law, Anne; daughters Valerie and Jessica; his precious mother-in-law Louise Lazzaro (Weezie to him); sisters Diane Lehr, Mary Lehr Mule and brother-in-law Charles Mule; brother Keith Lehr; brother-in-law John Lazzaro; Uncles Anthony and Richard Titone, Aunt Rita Titone; his nieces and nephews who he adored; Charlie and Vincent Mule, Gina and Keith Lehr, and Jake and Victoria Lehr-Minucci; and his cousins Steven, Sheryl, Ronald, Stephanie and Alan.
He was always so proud of his children, they were his whole world. Being so close to his children he got to make so many wonderful memories over their lifetime together. During the final weeks of his illness, we were lucky to quarantine together as a family and were able to watch so many home movies with Gerald and relive all those wonderful memories together. And let us not forget we watched every Odd Couple episode too honoring his favorite of all shows growing up. The kids are now fans of Tony Randall and Jack Klugman.
In his spare time he enjoyed his collectible cars and going to car shows. We would often find him in the garage in the middle of the night just polishing up the Mustang or the Caprice. He enjoyed his Saturday night meet ups at Scottsdale Pavillions, and we enjoyed going with him there. We will continue those shows in honor of him.
We love and miss you so much Gerald. You have left an unbelievable void in all of our lives. We feel your presence in everything we do and everywhere we turn, a lifetime of memories will never take that away from us. We take fortitude in knowing that you were welcomed by God and all those that predeceased you and that you are no longer in pain. We know you are forever rejoicing with your beloved mother Mary, your father-in-Law John, sister-in-law Deborah, and many dear departed friends and family. Until we meet again, look down at us and always smile, knowing you are with us in everything that we do.
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