Joseph Raymond Gera, “Ray,” a life-long resident of Pittsburgh, PA, died peacefully on Saturday, July 14 in Lansdale, PA at 94 years old. Ray was the son of Joseph and Margaret Gera. He was preceded in death by his older sister, Elvira McFarland, and his younger sister, Romaine Bush. He was also preceded in death by his wife of 48 years, Vivian Tornell Gera.
Ray attended school in Wilkinsburg, PA and then college at Washington & Jefferson College. His college education was interrupted when he enlisted with the United States Army Air Corps where he trained as a pilot. He was fond of telling stories of “flying over the Hump,” the term given to flying supplies over the Himalayan Mountains during World War II.
Ray earned his living as a salesman, first selling Westinghouse small appliances then as a manufacturer’s representative, concentrating primarily on cookware.
Though raising three children kept him busy, he always made time for his art. He had a broad range of artistic talents including pencil sketching (for which he won contests in grade school and high school), molding with clay and whittling wood. He was also a master at building sand castles. As he aged, his artistic talent was expressed through designing and making church banners as well as designing and participating in building the Senior Center’s floats for the Monroeville 4th of July parades.
Long before its current popularity, Ray was the ultimate do-it-yourselfer. There was nothing he wouldn’t try fixing with duct tape, coat hangers or his signature Rube Goldberg approach.
Ray is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Gordon and Jan Gera of Lafayette Hill, PA; his daughter and son-in-law, Kristen and Vince Giuliana of Ellicott City, MD; and daughter and son-in-law, Carolyn and Kevin Brahler of Naperville, IL. He is also survived by eight grandchildren: Christopher, Taylor, Alexandra, Vincent, Benjamin, Samantha, Colin and Elizabeth.
A viewing will be held at Cross Roads Presbyterian Church in Monroeville, PA from 10:00-11:00AM on Wednesday, July 18, 2018 with a funeral service immediately following.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Living Branches Foundation, 275 Dock Dr., Lansdale, PA 19446 or Washington and Jefferson College Alumni Fund, 605 Lincoln Highway, Washington, PA 15301.