Dr. Gerald "Gerry" Dennis Meyer, 102, Professor Emeritus of Renaissance Literature at SUNY, Cortland, passed peacefully on March 27th, 2018 at his residence in Ithaca.
Born June 16, 1915 in Rochester NY to Joseph and Elizabeth Gulliver Meyer, he was twin to Jerome Meyer, older brother to Robert Meyer and twins Linda Meyer (Browning) and Gregory Meyer. He was married to Muriel "Pidge" Carrier in 1945 and later to Nancy "Torchy" Hills in 1973.
He attended the University of Rochester and swam 1st string distance events on their nationally ranked swim team. He achieved freshman Cum Laude status, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and graduated in 1942 with BA degrees in English and History. He served in the Naval Supply Corps as Lieutenant SC USNR before receiving a graduate Business degree at Harvard University, and Masters and Doctorate Degrees in English Literature at Columbia University.
He was Instructor of English at Columbia University, Assistant Professor of English at UCLA, and Professor of Renaissance Literature at SUNY, Cortland, retiring in 1973. He was a published scholar who received several fellowships and "grants-in aid" for his extensive work on the impact of Science on 17th Century Literature. His many accolades and honors included speaking at NMLA conventions, a Ford Fellowship, and publication of his book The Scientific Lady In England: 1650-1760. An Account of Her Rise, with Emphasis on the Major roles of the Telescope and Microscope in 1955.
Active in sports, his final league bowling day was on his 100th birthday! He was a founding member of the Sunset League, member of the Cortland Bowling Association, recipient of numerous team Championships, and was inducted into the Cortland Bowler's Hall of Fame. A world-class swimmer, he competed in the Empire State Games from his 60s into his early 90s, taking countless gold medals. Of note was the 1995 Masters Division Meet in which he set four ESG records and collected 6 Gold Medals in his 80 – 84 age group!
Gerry was a philosopher, a humanitarian, and always a believer in equality, marching in Washington, D.C. with Dr. Martin Luther King in the Civil Rights March of 1963. He believed that knowledge and education were of great importance, and often sported a T-Shirt saying: "You think Education is Expensive?" (front), "Try Ignorance!" (back). Although highly educated, he never believed himself better than anyone else, and had scores of good friends from all walks of life.
Compassion, forgiveness, and unconditional love for his family and for animals were at the core of his being. He stayed in touch with extended family, visiting when he could, helping many when they needed a hand. He was loved dearly by them all! He adored animals, always had a dog or two and a few cats, many strays that he took in. In 2017, his daughter's poorly behaved but lovable dog was referred to as "bad"; he corrected them, saying "Louis is a fine dog, he simply lacks self-control."
Gerry had a keen sense of humor, loved a good joke (especially a dirty one!), was almost always happy and great to be around, giving his friends and family the gift of a million smiles over the years. He will be missed greatly by his friends and loved-ones.
He is survived by his daughters, Carol A. Sutliff (William) and Barbara M. Sodums (Marcis), his grandson's, Noel L. Drier, Derek J. Fox (Chava), and Matthew W. Fox (Samantha), 8 great-grandchildren, and his sister, Linda Meyer Browning (Louis).
Calling hours will be held Wednesday April 4, 2018 4pm-6pm at the Wright-Beard Funeral Home Inc., 9 Lincoln Ave., Cortland NY 13945. A family memorial gathering will take place at his burial at a later date. To offer online condolences visit www.wright-beard.com.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Cortland Community SPCA, online via Paypal at www.cortlandspca.org, via credit card by calling 607-753-9386, or by mail at 879 McLean Rd, Cortland, NY 13045.