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RIP Gerry Reid

March 4, 2010

Gerry and my husband Dean

Funny what you remember when you realize your neighbor, critically injured by an 18-wheeler, isn’t coming home again. The last conversation. The last “hey-how-ya-doin” wave.

My last thought about Gerry Reid before the Monday morning crash was the previous afternoon. I was on the sofa trying to nap when I heard a door slam. My eyes opened in time to see his weight-lifting partner pull away, his truck a red blur through the blinds.

“Ugh,” I think. “Gerry got in a great workout. Here I am being a blob.”

Commitment to fitness was just one aspect of Gerry, arguably the linchpin of our little North Raleigh community.

My husband and I met him and his wife Mandy after we moved into Stoney Manor in August 2003.  She welcomed us into the neighborhood with a homemade peach cobbler.

Our kids chased soccer balls in our yards. We watched Gerry teach Caleb, the younger of his two children, the finer points of street hockey. When the older kids overlooked our son in kickball, Gerry made sure George, the youngest and smallest, got a turn.

Gerry lifts my son to see a bird nest.

On warm summer evenings, when daylight lingered, I’d turn my car into the neighborhood. There Gerry would be, holding court in a swarm of kids and parents.

Holding forth on the day’s news. Dispensing advice. Predicting the outcome of the next Hurricanes season.

Gerry seemed to know a lot about everything. He seemed to know everybody. He couldn’t help highlighting what made people special, particularly their athletic achievements. Through Gerry I learned:

  • One of our neighbors was a collegiate wrestling champion.
  • Another was a collegiate gymnastics champion.
  • A former co-worker of mine was thriving as an athletic trainer.

That guy he lifted with last Sunday afternoon? A decathlete who Gerry greatly admired and considered Olympic caliber.

Our last conversation, not surprising, had to do with fitness. I was staggering back from the Y after a punishing Pilates session. He was working in the yard while his children played.

“Hey, whatcha doin’?”

“Ouch…Pilates.”

“Funny, looks like you’re walking to me.” The trademark grin.

We go on for a few minutes about exercise. I mostly whined about lack of consistency. He went on about his latest regimen. We complained about the interminable winter, and wouldn’t it be nice for spring to get here already?

Keeping watch

Previous conversations at the corner of Stoney Run and Pleasant Meadow were heavier. Like the weekend back in December, when one of three fatal car accidents in Wake County happened a few hundred yards from our homes.

“Your life really can be over in an instant,” he had said.

Gerry died a little before 3:00 this afternoon. My husband and I fell into one another’s arms and wept for our lost friend and his dear wife, who broke the news to Caleb and his sister Emma tonight.

How will this change us? Will we love more and forgive more? Will we take fewer gifts for granted? A God who adores us. Abundance. Good health. I pray that we will recognize and appreciate the blessings we already have.

My morning devotion yesterday included this scripture:  “Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them and you will have them.”  Mark 24:11

I’m learning that God always answers prayers. Just not always the way I want or expect.

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. Morris Haywood permalink
    March 5, 2010 1:36 am

    Beautifully written, Bev. Though I have never met him, you made him alive for me in your narrative. My condolences to you and Dean and George on the loss of your friend.

  2. March 5, 2010 10:13 am

    This is beautiful, Bev. You captured our friend Gerry perfectly. Mind if I put a link to your post on my Gerry page?

    Best Regards,
    Mark

  3. March 5, 2010 10:41 am

    Thank you, Mark and Morris. Mark: of course you may link to it. The WTVD story on Gerry was awesome. I don’t know how you got through the interview.

  4. Kelly Turner permalink
    March 5, 2010 12:24 pm

    Bev, thanks so much for your beautiful post. Mandy and the kids are so very lucky to have such wonderful neighbors. Being so close to them, please let us know you recognize any unmet needs AT ALL. We’ll drop everything to be there.

    Best,
    Kelly

  5. March 5, 2010 12:30 pm

    Kelly, thank you so much for commenting. The outpouring of love has been amazing. Mandy knows we’ve got her back.

  6. Mandy permalink
    March 5, 2010 6:51 pm

    Beverly. How sweet! You have quite an art for story telling yourself. I know Gerry is honored about what you have written about him. It brought me to tears.

    Hugs,
    Mandy Reid

  7. March 5, 2010 7:33 pm

    Mandy, I cried when I wrote it. I cry every time I read it. We love you.

  8. Matt Reid permalink
    March 9, 2010 8:23 am

    Beverly,

    That was wonderful. Thank you so much.

    Matt Reid

  9. March 9, 2010 8:16 pm

    Matt, we are devastated by the loss of Gerry. Our hearts, thoughts and prayers are with you.

  10. Geek Girl permalink
    March 12, 2010 12:07 pm

    This is lovely, Bev. It’s so very sad.

  11. March 14, 2010 11:47 pm

    Incredibly beautiful eulogy for our dear friend Gerry.

  12. Ann Bruce permalink
    June 26, 2012 5:36 am

    RIP Gerry was beautiful. Simply beautiful. It just made me want to treat everyone more tenderly, with more love and reverance because each person is God’s unique work.

Trackbacks

  1. The Gerry Reid Page » Blog Archive » RIP Gerry, by Bev Brown
  2. Gerry Really Did Know Everybody « RunnerBev's Blog

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