Gerald "Gerry" Perselay of Staunton, Virginia, husband of Audrey Lail Perselay, passed away peacefully Tuesday, November 14, 2023, at home, surrounded by family and friends. Gerry was born April 9, 1927, in Irvington, New Jersey, to the late Nathan and Lena Bistrovich Perselay. He was 96 years old.
In addition to his parents, Gerry, is predeceased by his first wife, Bernice S. Perselay; brothers-in-law Richard Gartenberg and Albert Steinman; and sister-in-law, Irene Steinman.
Along with his wife, Audrey, family left to honor Gerry’s memory are his son Lee Perselay (Elizabeth) of Alexandria, VA, and Mara Catalano (Joe) of Syracuse, NY—along with his grandchildren Tess, Shay, Matthew, Nina, and Julia. Also surviving is his sister, Joyce Gartenberg of Seattle, WA, along with nephews Gary Gartenberg (Holly) and David Gartenbery (Jo), and nieces Jill Corson Zager (Richard) and Jane Harris (John). Other survivors include nephew, Steve Steinman (Andrea), and brothers-in law Stanley Lail (Connie) and Russell Lail with sister-in-law, Vanessa Lail Webster (Tim). Lastly, Gerry is survived by his beloved fur-babies, Pixie and Gigi, who gave him lots of comfort.
Joining the Army Air Corp in 1945 and then the Air Force in 1949 (after graduating from Rutgers University), Gerry spent 30 years in active service, including a tour in Vietnam. While in the Air Force, he also completed his Master’s in Business Administration at Syracuse University and earned his Doctor of Business Administration from George Washington University. And—he spent important tours of duty as the Air Force Commandant at MIT and the Pre-Commissioning Officer for the Military in Washington. While acting as the Pre-Commissioning Officer, he worked diligently to build stronger pathways for women wishing to enter both College and High School ROTC programs. Then as a Colonel, he finished out his military career as a faculty member for the Industrial College of the Military. After military retirement, Gerry joined the business faculty at Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC, where he also acted as Chair of Business Management. Never one to just walk away from helping students, upon leaving Winthrop University, he worked as the Student Research Director for Pfeiffer University in Charlotte, North Carolina. Later he spent his last years of teaching as an adjunct for Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers Cave, Virginia. He often remarked, how fun it was to be back in the classroom with so many bright students, helping them start off on the right track. Many such young friends will remember “Dr. Gerry” always encouraging them to value their college experiences; “it will definitely payoff down the road.” And—between his last two teaching periods, Gerry was a professional consultant to executive directors of many SC charities and foundations.
Gerry, who faithfully served our country for many years, will be laid to rest in a Military Honors Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery with a Celebration of Life planned for later in the spring.
Additionally, the family wishes to thank the nurses and staff of the Hospice of the Shenandoah for their deeply caring services. And lastly, we wish to extend our heartfelt appreciation to all of Gerry’s caregivers through the years; we will always be grateful to them.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you send donations in Gerry’s honor to the Hospice of the Shenandoah or your own local hospice.