Raymond Gerkin, 73, of North Vernon, passed away peacefully at 8:10 p.m. on Thursday, August 13, 2020, at his home, surrounded by his family after a hard-fought battle with pancreatic cancer.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be conducted at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 18, 2020, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Rev. Jerry Byrd will officiate. Burial will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m. on Monday, August 17, 2020 with the Rosary Service being conducted at 3:30 p.m. at Sawyer-Pickett Funeral and Cremation Service. Those attending services will be required to wear masks and practice social distancing, seating at the funeral mass will be limited.
Born April 1, 1947, in Bedford, Ray was the son of Robert and Donna (Stutsman) Gerkin. He was united in marriage to Janet Louise Carnes at St’ Mary’s Catholic Church on June 2, 1971. She survives.
Ray was a 1965 graduate of Kennedy High School in Carlisle, Indiana, where he achieved a track and field record that was never beaten. He went on to earn his master’s degree in education from Indiana State University in 1969. After College, he began his teaching career with the Jennings County High School where he mentored students for 43 years before his retirement in 2012. Ray was a member of the Jennings County Classroom Teachers Association where he served as President for many years. Ray took great pride in his work with students and for other teachers. In his own words, “It was satisfying to me to be able to go home from work each night and feel like I accomplished something.”
Ray coached cross country at Jennings County High School for a total of 37 years. He led the boys’ team to the school’s first sectional title in 1982. He was responsible for the creation of the first girls’ team at Jennings County and continued to coach until his retirement. Just recently, the JC Athletic Department and School Board recognized his contributions by changing the name of the long held “Big Blue Invitational” to the “Ray Gerkin Invitational.” He was proud of all the athletes he was able to mentor.
After retirement, Ray volunteered his time at the St. Vincent de Paul Society where he served as treasurer. At the time of his death, he was the president of the Jennings County Retired Teachers Association. He enjoyed mushroom hunting, playing cards, and cheering for the Colts and Pacers. Ray was a member of St. Mary’s Parish. Most important to Ray were his family and friends.
In addition to his wife of 49 years, Janet Gerkin of North Vernon, survivors include son, Raymond Shawn (Chasity) Gerkin of North Vernon; daughters, Rayann Nicole (Michael) Scott of Indianapolis, and LeAnn Marie (Joshua) Stidham of North Vernon; brothers, Ronnie Gerkin of Indianapolis, and Donnie Gerkin of Oklahoma City, OK; grandchildren, Peyton, Sidney, and Laec Gerkin, Lucius, Lachlan, Seamus, and Sloane Stidham, Grayson Scott.
Ray was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Donna Gerkin; son, James Clayton Gerkin; son in law, Joshua Stidham; and an infant sister.
Memorials may be made through the funeral home to the Ray Gerkin Memorial Scholarship Fund through the Community Foundation or to the St. Mary’s School.
Friends and family are invited to light a candle or leave a message of condolence in Ray’s memory at www.sawyerfuneralservice.com.
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