Gerald John Yaple, 71, of Fairview, PA, passed away on Sunday, December 20th, surrounded by his family from a brief battle with lung cancer. Gerald was born September 12, 1949 in Erie, PA a son to the late Robert and Virginia (Smith) Yaple. He was a graduate of East High School.
Gerald was drafted to the United States Army in January of 1969. He was deployed overseas to Vietnam for one year and one month, serving with the 554th Engineer Battalion. During his deployment he served as both as a cook and as a laborer under the engineers. Gerald was awarded the Nation Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal. Upon his honorable discharge he returned home to the Erie area. Gerald was a member of the Fairview American Legion Post #742 for over twenty-five years.
Gerald was a hard worker from a young age starting as a farm hand in Spring Creek, PA, a block layer for Ernie Black in Erie. He worked at Good Year Tire and eventually retired as a diesel mechanic from Erie Metro Transit Authority. Gerald married his high school girlfriend, the love of his life, Sherrill Ann (Fling) Yaple. Together they raised three children.
Gerald loved spending time with his family and his best friend of 63 years, Vance Blair at his family camp in Spring Creek. He enjoyed watching John Wayne movies, North Woods Law or any tv shows about wildlife. He was an avid reader of the Pennsylvania Game News and could tell you anything relating to fish and game. He could also “fix” anything. Gerald will be remembered as being a genuinely kind and caring man, he believed the best in everyone he met and was always willing to help anyone in need. Gerald loved his family deeply and worked hard to provide a wonderful life for them, always putting them first above all else. He was the most selfless man you would ever meet.
In addition to his parents, Gerald was preceded in death by two brothers, Gary and Benjamin Yaple in infancy; a sister, Kathleen Guarino of Erie; two very dear friends, Denise Blair of Erie and Randy Cmiel of Spring Creek.
Gerald is survived by his wife of over fifty years, Sherrill whom he married May 1, 1971; two daughters; Kelly Bechdel of Lake City, Kerry Hoderny (Jason) of Fairview; a son, Gary Yaple (Kristin) of Millcreek; grandchildren, Zachary Haile, Selena Haile and Aaron Bechdel; a great grandson, Liam Haile;
Three sisters, Judy Delinski (Richard) of Woodbridge, VA, Shirley Anderson (Bob) of South Carolina, Christine Hirz (Mike) of Millcreek; a brother, Mark Yaple (Carol) of Erie; brother in law, Bucky Fling (Kathy) of Erie; Uncle Ronald Smith; cousin, Donny Smith (Dawn); three second cousins of Wattsburg; thirteen nieces and nephews; twenty one great nieces and nephews; as well as his four-legged faithful Irish Setter, Riley.
Funeral services will be held privately by the family. Under the direction of Edder Funeral Home.
Burial will be at Gate of Heaven Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society, 2115 West 38th St., Erie, PA 16508 or The Veterans of Foreign War at vfw.org.
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