Father Gerald "Jerry" Hanley returned to his Lord peacefully, in his sleep, on May 28, 2021. Born October 16, 1936, the second of seven children born to Thomas and Dolores (Foley) Hanley. Cherishing his memory are his sisters Mary Joann Adams, Maureen Plumb (Gerry), his sister-in-law Denise Hanley and his brothers Robert (Gail) Hanley and Kevin Hanley. In addition seventeen nieces and nephews as well as a litany of friends. Preceding him in death are Fr. Jerry’s parents Thomas and Dolores and his brothers Jack and Dennis.
Fr. Jerry was raised in Detroit, Michigan where he attended and graduated from St. Rita High School. He soon gained employment in the automotive business and over the years developed into a top steel sales engineer with the Firth Sterling Company. Fr. Jerry is also a U.S. Army veteran having served honorably for ten years in the reserves.
In the 1960’s Fr. Jerry took an active role in St. Rita’s parish by serving on the parish council and the regional synod. Through his input, guidance and resolve he partnered with others to assist in making St. Rita’s a thriving, helping community. Fr. Jerry also continued his studies as a student at the University of Detroit. He began to feel a calling.
In 1968, Fr. Jerry answered his Lord’s call and enrolled in a special Catholic seminary, in Weston, MA, designed specifically for men with late vocations. In 1973 Fr. Jerry received his Master of Divinity when he was ordained at his home parish, St. Rita’s, in Detroit. After his ordination Fr. Jerry ventured west to Nevada to perform his priestly ministries. First, a four-year assignment in Las Vegas and then a transfer to St. Teresa of Avilla parish in Carson City. Little did Fr. Jerry know that great miracles would occur over the next thirty years at St. Teresa of Avilla.
Fr. Jerry’s leadership role at St. Teresa’s expanded into the Carson City community. Recognizing an immediate need for assistance in the social services sector Fr. Jerry partnered with other neighborhood churches and created the organization “Friends in Service Helping” (FISH). Fr. Jerry’s philosophy is “When you put your heart and soul into something to make it happen, then God keeps it going. It is a blessing.” Fr. Jerry assisted Pat Bates (deceased) in the mid 1980's in forming the Community Counseling Center where he volunteered in his spare time.
For three decades, Fr. Jerry presided over hundreds of weddings, funerals and baptisms. He had 400 families in 1977 upon arrival and over 2,500 when he retired July 1, 2007. It was his vision that saw the church move from its historic location at 449 W. King St. to the new, sprawling site at 3000 N. Lompa Lane. "I've always felt like I was a part of a wonderful group of people at St. Teresa's. I'm proud to walk with them. Sometimes I've wept at the goodness." (Quote from Fr. Jerry upon retirement.)
Fr. Jerry enjoyed his reading. From spy novels to historical non-fiction and everything in between. Fr. Jerry loved to sing. He fancied himself as a great Irish tenor. And of the thousands of us who have heard him sing “Danny Boy” not a one of us would tell him otherwise.
A Celebration of Life for Fr. Jerry will take place at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Community on Saturday, June 26, 2021 at 11AM. Bishop Randolph Calvo will be presiding.
Eternal rest grant upon him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.
" May the Lord bless you and keep you and may he shine his loving face upon you" Amen.