his passing at the age of 84.
He died June 8,
2019, at 7:55 p.m. EST, after minimal suffering. He was with two very good
friends, Chesterton residents John Johnston and Randy Bolde, when he passed.
Gerry was able to spend his last week surrounded by friends and family at
the Indiana Veterans Home in West Lafayette, Indiana, where both he and his
family were treated with the highest caliber of care and compassion.
Gerry’s life was
filled with many adventures, shenanigans, and projects. Gerry was born in
Gary, IN, on February 11, 1935, to French-Canadian Harry Hébert and
Irish-American Mazie Blake.
His life was marked
by the vim and vigor for which both cultures are known. Gerry often told
stories of his childhood in Gary’s glory days, from inter-school rivalries
and neighborhood fights, to playing “Cowboys and Indians” in back alleys and
fixing the family car with his dad, to discovering “ancient steps” in the
lake at his francophone grandfather’s modest resort outside of Brenard, MN.
He was voted “Prettiest Eyes” of Horace Mann High School his senior year--a
title of which he was distinctly proud.
Some of Ger’s early
exploits: getting arrested after starting a bar fight in Marquette, MI,
while working as a cook on the Joseph L. Block ore ship; leading the
self-proclaimed biggest “panty raid” in the history of Purdue University;
moonlighting as a gynecologist when on fishing trips with Marine friend
Harry Schultz in Northern Wisconsin; becoming “best buddies” with Elvis
Presley during his Army service in Germany; driving a chuck wagon in a
reenacted Union charge against the Confederacy; developing a unique way of
cooking trout with catalpa leaves and horse manure; announcing the birth of
his son in a meeting with the governor of Indiana, the lieutenant governor,
and the mayor of Gary to thunderous applause.
Gerry was well
known as a force with which to be reckoned. He was an ardent government
watchdog, frequently penning letters to the editor or leading anti-war
protests while his son served with the Marine Corps during Operation Iraqi
Freedom. He did not accept luke-warm soup at restaurants, and felt it was
his duty to hold any and all service providers to his draconian standards.
He was likeably irreverent and judged others by how interesting they were,
rather than their titles. If anything, Ger was always his own man.
Yet, Ger viewed his
greatest achievement to be his family. He would often brag about his two
children, Lora-Marie McCaffry (Hébert) and Jacques-René Hébert, and their
musical, academic, and professional accomplishments to anyone that would
listen -- and even to some that were probably not very interested. He adored
his three grandchildren, Michael Jon Dye, Conall Odhrán McCaffry, and çine
Méadhbh McCaffry, and found a deep respect and admiration for his superhuman
son-in-law, Michael Jon McCaffry. His only mistake in life -- his sentiment,
mind you -- was the loss of his second marriage. He continued to love and
respect his ex-wife, Diane Kay Fuller, until the day he died, and attributed
much of the success of his children to her loving, compassionate, and
Known as “Ger” to
many and “Pickleman” to some, his loss leaves a large hole in many lives.
His presence on Keweenaw fishing trips, family gatherings, and Pete
Visclosky’s inbox will be sorely and tearfully missed.
In addition to his
children and grandchildren, Gerry is survived by his brother, Thomas Alan
Hébert, of Spring Hill, FL, and his sister, Patricia Ann Parker, of
Family and friends
may gather at Moeller Funeral Home, 104 Roosevelt Rd., Valparaiso, IN, on
Sunday, June 16, 2019, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., followed by a service at 3:00
p.m. Interment will occur at Calumet Park Cemetery, 2305 W. 73rd Ave.,
Merrillville, IN, on Monday, June 17, 2019.