Gerard Richard Andersen, Jr., passed away on Friday, April 13, 2018. Gerard was born to parents, Gerard Andersen, Sr. and Beverly Andersen in Brooklyn, NY. He is survived by his wife of 16yrs., Kimberly Andersen and their twin boys, Eric and Ian Andersen of Valparaiso, FL. Gerard leaves behind a brother; Timothy Gerard of Scotland; Sisters; Heather Scapp in Staten Island, NY, and Lisa Murphy in upstate New York.
“We’ve got a storm front coming down from the north and moving fast!!”
Now put that quote into one of the most spot-on impressions of Arnold Schwarzenegger you’ve ever heard, and imagine you’re in the breakfast chow hall of 6th Ranger Training Battalion after another hard morning of physical training.
And everyone is laughing because “Arnold” is doing the weather. That was Jerry Andersen.
He was the man who was known for causing laughter wherever he went. If he was on a team out in the middle of the swamp at 3 a.m., he would be the guy impersonating a Marine Corps Drill Instructor by making sounds that were probably supposed to be words but couldn’t be understood—because that’s how Marine Corps DI’s sound.
He was a soldier who would crack jokes while next to you in the mud by looking up at an F-15 streaking overhead and saying, “we probably should have gone to college.”
He was a pure New York City fellow who, when out with our friend from Boston, would converse with him in a tongue that was barely intelligible to the rest of us.
He was the guy with a boat named “The Money Shot” that nearly everyone has a story about, usually involving something in the wee hours of the morning, almost sinking, and the United States Coast Guard.
He was the guy who left Staff Duty....to catch an alligator. Because all of that somehow made sense when you knew Jerry.
When veterans of foreign wars pass on, the usual is to say how they served their country; how they answered the call and went into the dark places of the world when others would not, and how thankful we should be that such men lived.
This is all true of Jerry, to be sure. But there is so much more.
To those who knew him, speaking of what he did “for his country” falls far short of encapsulating the beautiful soul who kept us all laughing, fed us when hungry (even if it was just a constant stream of espresso), and carried us when tired. We knew him as the truly unique character that he was—a man quick with a joke but a broken heart over lost friends. To those of us who truly knew Jerry, he was more than a soldier or warrior, though he was certainly those, as well.
He was our friend. He was our brother.
And we miss him terribly. Our hearts are with his wonderful wife, Kim, and his ever-growing boys, Ian and Eric—all of whom he loved more than words can say.
And it is these words that now seem horribly incapable of expressing how we all feel about Jerry Andersen.
Rest in Peace, brother. Keep that ORP in the sky safe for the rest of us until we arrive.
A visitation will be held on Thursday, April 19, 2018 from 6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M. at Emerald Coast Funeral Home, 161 Racetrack Rd., NW, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547. A funeral service will be on Friday, April 20, 2018 at 10:00 A.M. at Emerald Coast Funeral Home with a reception to follow immediately at the Funeral Home. Expressions of love and sympathy may be placed and viewed online at www.emeraldcoastfuneralhome.com