Born on June 4, 1954, Michael Adrian Gerrard was the 2nd child born to the late Robert and Bertha Gerrard in Portsmouth Naval Hospital, Portsmouth Virginia, where his maternal grandparents lived. He departed this life on July 8, 2019 at the Curis at Concord Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, North Carolina.
~ Family Man ~ Mike was a native of New York, reared in East Elmhurst Queens. He was always academically astute and demonstrated leadership skills early in life and was looked on by his peers to provide steady counsel and good humor. From age 11, Mike spent summers with his brother in Jersey Shore where he loved jumping over waves, as he was a great swimmer; also, he loved to watch and play baseball and basketball. A protector, confidante and role model, Mike was a devoted son to his mother who he lovingly call “Bertha Mae” and to his father who became blind while in the U.S. Navy. Mike drove his father to work every day, while attending New York University, where he graduated in 1976. In addition, Mike received his Master’s in social work from Columbia University in 1978 and shortly thereafter obtained his licensure (LMSW) with the State of New York.
~ The Husband Man & Father ~ Proverbs 18:22 “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord” Although Mike was an educated career man, he realized that there was still something missing from his life. The inevitable happened, when he saw the love of his life while she was delivering a child to the Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch, and the rest is history. On August 13, 2005, on the Island of Jamaica, West Indies, Michael Adrian Gerrard married Bethtrina Denise McCray (Trina). From this union evolved an amazing blended family. With Mike’s caring and protective instincts combined with Trina’s nurturing and motivational guidance, they succeeded in raising 3 successful young ladies, Amber, Brazil and Sequoia. These girls loved their “Dad”. He told them “I am an O.G., I’m a bad man”. Mike loved gangsta rap. He was extremely family oriented and insisted that the family eat and do things together. Furthermore, he took his daughters on dates and explained how a man is supposed to treat a woman. Mike loved his Trina and their girls. In addition, Mike’s two sons, Christopher and Jordan from a previous relationship, were near and dear to his heart.
~ Career Man ~ As a licensed social worker, Mike spent a career of over 34 years providing essential assistance, programming, education and life skills to many youths who had been largely discarded by society. He instinctively understood young minds, and had a keen sense of the role societal ills played in undermining the potential of black and brown adolescents. He was fearless in defending their right to feel loved and protected He never wavered when these principles were challenged, and earned the deep respect of colleagues, and clients alike. Mike’s dedication was best stated in a 1996 letter of recommendation he received while he worked as Deputy Executive Director of a facility for troubled youth. Mike was well liked by his staff because of his insightful and compassionate leadership. In addition, Mike Co-founded The Youth Family and Community Service of Bay Shore in 1993 – a mentoring program for at-risk youth.
~ The Spiritual and Passionate Man ~ At first, Mike was not a Sunday Church goer. He found his spiritual comfort every Wednesday on his lunch hour at the St. Paul’s Community Baptist, under the leadership of the Rev. Johnny Ray Youngblood, who taught the Bible in a language he understood, along with promoting black empowerment. After marrying Trina, they understood the importance of worshipping as family. Trina invited Mike to the Hope Missionary Baptist Church where he was baptized and served as the chairperson of the Men’s Ministry for many years, until his health failed him. Blue was Mike’s favorite color and he equated that to his love for the ocean, which was his place of peace, which allowed him to feel closer to God. In illness, Mike never lost his passion for taking care of his family. In May 2018, he purchased a home in Concord, NC for his wife to live out her retirement in her dream home. Everybody liked Mike; he cared, loved and protected hard and did not hesitate to go beyond the call of duty to help anyone in need.
Michael A. Gerrard, A Good Man, A Good Life, A Good Death. He will be sorely missed. He leaves to cherish his memory: His Loving Wife, Bethtrina McCray-Gerrard; 5 children, Amber McCray, Brazil McCray, Sequoia McCray; 2 sons, Christopher Gerrard & Jordan Gerrard; One brother, Robert Gerrard, Jr.; two sister in-laws, Melinda Gerrard and Donna Hall; 3 Nephews, Justin, Brian, De’John, De’Khari; 2 Nieces, Ashley and Anjilese (Mike’s snack partner); And a host of other Cousins, Relatives and Good Friend