Sanibel resident Gerry Halweg died on Dec. 31, 2009 at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute in New York City. He had gone through a lengthy operation for a brain tumor that was followed by a heart attack and other complications. His death was totally unexpected by those who knew and loved him.
Preceding him in death were his parents, Albert and Mildred (Greenley) Halweg; his wife of 42 years, Jeanne (who fought cancer for 15 years); his brother, Raymond, and his grandchild, Rachel. He is survived by his sons: John (Jack) Halweg of New Bern, N.C.; Gerald and Debbie Halweg, Jr. and their children, Sarah and Gerald III (Trey) of Naperville, Ill.; and, James Halweg of Cornelius, N.C. He is also survived by his beloved partner of the last eight years, Beth Miller of Sanibel.
Gerry was born on Oct. 25, 1930 in Waukegan, Ill., the youngest of three brothers. The family later moved to Joliet and Gerry graduated from Joliet High School in 1949 then attended Joliet Junior College for two years. He completed his education at the University of Illinois in 1953, where he received a Bachelor's degree in Business Management.
He married Jeanne Viola Fant of Rockdale, Ill.. in 1953 and spent the next two years in the U.S. Army before joining the civilian workforce. He returned to Joliet, Ill. where he was employed by Blockson Chemical Company. The corporation was later acquired by Olin Corporation where Gerry remained until his retirement in 1992. While working for Olin, he rose in the executive ranks to National Sales Manager as well as to CEO of an Olin joint venture. Advancement meant moving, and over the years the family lived in Illinois, New Jersey, Connecticut and North Carolina.
Gerry was a true outdoorsman - an avid fisherman, hunter, marksman, and sailor. After moving to Sanibel in 2001, he developed an interest in biking, riding 20 to 30 miles daily. He took great pride in his collection of bikes - a Fuji, a Cannondale and a recumbent. He also spent time and energy volunteering at the Red Start Fishery Project and the "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Gerry was an active member of the Sanibel-Captiva Lions Club and recently completed his term as secretary. He was a member of the Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ.
Gerry and Beth traveled throughout the world in their eight years together, from Moscow to Beijing to Scotland to Antarctica. Their next trip was in the planning stage when Gerry died.
A Celebration of Life will be held at the Sanibel Congregational Church, located at 2050 Periwinkle Way, on Saturday, Jan. 23 at 2 p.m. A reception will immediately
follow in the church Fellowship Hall. Memorials in the name of Gerald Halweg may be sent to the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society, 1 Wildlife Drive, Sanibel, FL 33957.
Gerry was a thoroughly good, kind, gentle man and he was loved by many. As he himself would say, "This is a day the Lord has made - rejoice in it and be glad."