“Mr. Gerald”, age 94 departed this life on April 10, 2020. He was born on February 18, 1926 in Poquoson, VA to Gerald (Sr.) and Mary Patesel. He grew up in the Messick area of Poquoson and was always proud of his “Bull Island” heritage that traces back close to 200 years. After graduating from Poquoson High School he enlisted in the U. S. Navy serving on the USS Ocelot in the Pacific until the end of WWII. Upon his return he completed several courses at William & Mary under the GI Bill and married his high school sweetheart Emma Jean Montgomery from Seaford, VA. They began their life’s journey that lasted for 47 years and had two children, Jean Denise and Gerald James, III. Mr. Gerald began his civil service career with the Air Force at Langley Air Force Base that afforded him the opportunity to travel the world and to play a part in ensuring the readiness of our military services. He retired as Chief of Logistics and Supply for Tactical Air Command after 42 years and spent several years as a consultant for local defense contractors. Mr. Gerald spent his life in the service of his church and community. He served on the finance and building committees as well as the Administrative Board and Council of Ministries of Trinity United Methodist Church. He taught Sunday school classes for many years and would be the first to arrive each Sunday to open the church and start making the coffee. He attended the twice weekly Trinity Aerobics class for over 20 years. He also attended the weekly Peninsula Christian Fellowship Prayer Breakfast for 25 years. Mr. Gerald always found ways to serve his community. He served two terms on the Poquoson School Board and on the Poquoson Parks and Playground Commission. He was a Cub Scout leader and he coached Little League and Babe Ruth baseball. He was a seventy year member of the Poquoson Masonic Lodge and he volunteered for the MedTran transportation and Meals on Wheels programs of the Peninsula Agency on Aging for over 15 years. Mr. Gerald would start his days by meeting his buddies for breakfast and then working around the house. He never stayed in one place for too long. He enjoyed doing yard work as evidence of his wearing out three to four riding lawn mowers over time. He always enjoyed being around others and having a good laugh. There are many people to thank who assisted Mr. Gerald during his short illness: the Poquoson Rescue Squad staff who always conducted themselves in a compassionate and professional manner, Linda Smith Koop and her team of home health aides who not only provided needed assistance but outstanding companionship as well, and the Poquoson Exchange Club who provide tremendous support to Poquoson residents. Special gratitude goes to two of Mr. Gerald’s best buddies who were there whenever and for whatever was needed: Tommy Forrest and Bob Speechley. Due to the Covid-19 guidelines a private burial will be held on 4/16/2020 and a celebration of Mr. Gerald’s life will be held at a later date. Given the current environment, the family asks that in lieu of flowers or donations that everyone make additional check-in contacts with your family and neighbors to ensure their safety. Mr. Gerald never wavered from his devotion to his faith, family, and community. There is no doubt that he is now in his heaven. He is joking and cutting up with his buddies and friends. He has been reunited with the two people that he respected more than anyone, his mom and dad. He is sitting holding the hand of the only woman he ever loved. He is thanking his God for the wonderful life and he is at peace.
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