Meadville Tribune

Obituaries (Archives)

June 6, 2013

Gerald Ray (Jerry) Cresswell Sr.

MELBOURNE, Fla. — Gerald Ray (Jerry) Cresswell Sr. of 605 Ebony St., Melbourne, Fla. (formerly of Sheakleyville), passed away Sunday morning, June 2, 2013, in Melbourne, due to an accidental fall.

Jerry was born April 23, 1946, in Geneva, a son of Robert Lee Cresswell Sr. and Mariam Theona Byers Cresswell.

As a child, he grew up in the family business, Cresswell’s General Store, Sheakleyville, where he learned much about life, service to community and love of family. He attended Sheakleyville Presbyterian Church, attending Sunday school and youth group.

He always loved sports and played basketball and baseball for Commodore Perry School. After graduation in 1964, he worked at GATX in Masury, Ohio. He then was drafted into the U.S. Marine Corps on Nov. 22, 1964, and received the rank of corporal. He was honorably discharged on Nov. 22, 1971.

After returning home from his tour with the Marines, he worked at GATX and then PPG Industries. He became a real estate agent for Sousa Realty, Conneaut Lake, and later opened his own real estate and insurance office in Sheakleyville.

In 1982 he moved to Florida, where he continued in real estate, was partner in Tropical Builders then worked as office manager at various car dealerships with the latest being Truck City and Grand Sport RV, Wickham Road, Melbourne. In his leisure time he loved golfing, baseball and watching all sports.

Jerry was a loving father, son, brother and uncle, generously giving of his time to his parents and always had the ability to listen, give sound advice and made each one feel special. He loved his family so very much. His quick wit and sense of humor, along with his genuine love and concern for all of us, will be greatly missed.

Jerry fought courageously the battles put before him. The first was the nightmares of Vietnam and the last was against pancreatic cancer. Diagnosed in July 2012, he began the fight of his life. This began his search for a deeper and closer walk with God. His search led him to the Community Church of God in Melbourne, where he was welcomed and accepted as part of the family. He would invite and bring others to church wanting them to experience the joy he found. His faith and determination within the last year impacted not only family, but all those with which he came in contact.

Recently while home in Sheakleyville, he made a video, “How pancreatic cancer saved my life.” This can be seen on YouTube. He planned and was instrumental in planning and completing a benefit fundraiser for a child with cystic fibrosis and a revival in May 2013, called a Change of the Heart Weekend, which was held at the Sheakleyville Fairgrounds. It was his desire to come back home and share how God changed his heart and made him brand new. His spiritual journey led him to his baptism on his birthday, April 23, 2013.

Even when things were rough, he was never concerned with himself but was always thinking and praying for others. The last several months of his life impacted all those he came in contact with, from doctors, nurses, church family, family, to people on the streets. It wasn’t unusual for him to find shelter for someone homeless and provide them meals.

He is survived by his companion, Pikool (Lek) Van Dall of Melbourne; two sons, Tad Dean Cresswell of Pittsburgh and Gerald Ray Cresswell Jr. and wife, Gwen, of Fredonia; a daughter, Gretchen Lee Glaister of Transfer; a brother, Donald Cresswell and wife, Shirley, of Hadley; a sister, Elizabeth (Bess) Campbell and husband, Denny, of Clarks Mills; and sisters-in-law, Jean Cresswell and Karen Cresswell of Hadley. His grandchildren are Brittany Cresswell Burns and husband, Brandon, of Sharpsville, Joseph Mueller of Fredonia, Gerald Ray Cresswell III of Ohio, and Zakery and Seth Glaister of New Hamburg.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and brothers, Floyd Edward Cresswell and Robert Lee Cresswell Jr., both of Hadley.

Friends may call at Robert L. Snyder Funeral Home and Crematory Inc., 3223 Perry Highway, Sheakleyville, on Sunday from 3 to 8 p.m. and are invited to share memories and condolences online at rlsfh.com.

The funeral service will be held Monday at 11 a.m. at the funeral home, with the Rev. Kenneth Martin, pastor of Assembly of God Church in Hermitage, officiating. The committal service with military honors will follow at Sheakleyville Cemetery.

The family has suggested that memorial tributes may be made to the American Cancer Society, Greenville Relay for Life, c/o Waglers Camp Perry, 2554A Perry Highway, Clarks Mills, Pa. 16114.

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