Deceased on Monday, Sept. 4, 2017, peacefully, at The Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre, Ottawa. Born October 28, 1924 in Toronto. After graduating from high school, Gerry joined the Royal Canadian Navy (1943-45), helping with anti-submarine convoys in the North Atlantic. Upon his return to Canada, Gerry studied for his B.A. at University of Toronto.
Taking religious vows in 1950, Gerry became a Montfort Father in the Company of Mary (S.M.M.). Upon being ordained to the priesthood in Ottawa on Feb. 3, 1957, he studied Canon Law at Saint Paul University, Ottawa, then ministered as Chaplain, St. Mary’s Hospital, Montreal. In 1987, he began his pastoral work in the Ottawa area, becoming known for his meaningful sermons.
In addition to his spiritual vocation, he had a great passion for music, particularly jazz. His record collection was legendary. A friend and admirer of many musicians, including Dizzy Gillespie and Duke Ellington, Father Gerry was an officiant and speaker at the Duke’s funeral (where Ella Fitzgerald sang and Count Basie wept unashamedly in the front row in front of 10,000 attendees). Their personal letters to each other have been preserved in the National Museum of American History Archives in Washington, D.C.
Nevertheless, no matter who you were, or where you came from, Gerry was always eager to talk, to share a meal or a story, to tell you about his experiences in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, or wherever he had travelled (and whomever he had met) during his interesting lifetime. Family was always so important to Gerry. Enjoying regular visits to his siblings, nieces, nephews and cousins, whether in their homes, up at the cottage or just sitting around their family dinner tables, he would tell his interesting stories or share a joke or two, always with his lovely smile. A personal card would often follow showing his beautiful calligraphy skills. Gerry will also be sorely missed by his great-nieces and nephews, his cousins, his religious brothers, and especially by his dear cousin Lucy Ann Pocock.
Cherished son of Margaret O’Neill and Hubert John Pocock; brother to the late Father Hubert (Bud), Neil O’Neill, John (Jack) and sister Rosamund (Rosie). Beloved uncle to Ann Pearce (Woodstock, ON), Nancy Pocock (Newmarket, ON), Douglas (and Linda) Pocock (Oakville, ON) and Judy Pocock (Toronto, ON). Predeceased by his nephew Peter Pocock of Toronto with whom he had a unique and caring relationship.
Special thanks to Sheila Pocock and Brent MacDonald for taking such great care of Gerry, arranging visits with cousins Philip and Jasmine Pocock; for organizing the many dinners and evenings of entertainment around Ottawa, and for making numerous arrangements for Gerry’s elder care and comfort in his last years. Sincere appreciation to the staff at the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre, and to caregiver Denise who made Gerry’s last years so much fun!
Funeral Mass will be held in Lupton Hall at The Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre, 1750 Russell Road, Ottawa, on Wednesday, September 13th at 10 a.m. with a reception to follow. Interment to follow at Mount Hope Catholic Cemetery, 305 Erskine Ave., Toronto, on Friday, Sept. 15 at 2 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial tributes in Gerry’s name can be made to: The Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre Foundation, 1750 Russell Road, Ottawa, Ontario, K1G 5Z6, 613-526-7173.