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St George’s News - Waterlooville’s Parish Magazine

The Website for St George’s Church, Waterlooville and its Parish Magazine St George’s News

Festival 2019 issue

Gerald (Gerry) Shimbart 1944 - 2019

This Eulogy was delivered by Fr Ray Chapman at the Service of Thanksgiving for Gerry, which took place at St George’s Church on Sunday 24th March 2019, attended by a congregation of well over 200.

Gerry was born in Bramshott Chase in Liphook on 25th June 1944, as St Mary’s Hospital moved the maternity unit out of Portsmouth during the war.

Gerry attended St Judes School in Southsea and then went to the Southern Grammar School.

After leaving school he went to college in London. This was a tailoring college in Shoreditch. He then came back to Portsmouth and joined the family business making naval uniforms for new entrants at Raleigh in Plymouth.

Eventually he set up his own business in Southsea doing alterations first from a shop in St Paul’s Road and then moving to the attic in his house in Priory Crescent working for many of the large retail businesses in the area.

Gerry had a brother Michael who was born with severe Downs Syndrome. After their father’s death Gerry took on the mantle of guardian looking out for Michael’s best interests. Michael is now 65 years old and lives at South Africa Lodge in Waterlooville.

Gerry has two children, Robert and Samantha, and three grandchildren.

Robert and Julie live in Portsmouth with their daughter Kira who is 8 years old and Samantha and Ben live in Brighton with their sons Reuben who is 7½ and Seth who is 4½.

Gerry’s main interest and hobby has always been aviation. He, Elaine and Robert (when younger) would travel up and down the country attending air shows and even went to France for the Paris Airshow at le Bourget. He also enjoyed nature and walks in the countryside. He and Elaine enjoyed good holidays at home and abroad also at one time holidays in this country with their motor home. Gerry was very proud of his three Grandchildren.

His knowledge of aircraft was immense and he could answer almost any question about historical planes.

Gerry and Elaine became local councillors about 12 years ago and Gerry had the privilege of being made Mayor of Havant in 2012 and 2013. He was also very proud when Elaine was chosen for the role in 2017 to 2018.

Gerry was a member of the Waterlooville Rotary Club whilst Elaine was a member of the Inner Wheel. Gerry attended Rotary Conferences at various places including Jersey, Torquay and Eastbourne. He kept in touch with his old Grammar school being a member of the Old Secundriands attending reunions and Annual Dinners.

Gerry supported Elaine here at St. Georges and would meet her after worship in the Church Hall for coffee. Gerry supported with Elaine activities at St. George’s various social and fund-raising events making friends and acquaintances here over the years.

I have known Gerry over the years not only here at St. George’s but through his interest in some of the activities I have been involved in within the borough and Portsmouth. We have had many a conversation about the homeless and housing in particular because of my managing the Robert’s Centre for Homeless families and latterly my work in Mental Health. We would discuss the issues remaining today and of course political issues. Gerry took an interest in Mental Health issues and his father was at one time Chairman of Mencap. He was very supportive to Michael when his Father died.

Gerry was interested in his Jewish Heritage and family background as his origins on his father’s side are in Dortmund Poland and he lost a lot of his family amongst the terrible events of the 2nd World War in Poland.

Gerry was a very caring person with a social conscience which he shared with Elaine shown through support and interest of Portsmouth Family Welfare at one time. He was very much a doer and not a passenger always committed to what he did. Known for his friendliness amongst those with whom he worked.

It has been a very difficult time over the last 18 months yet despite this Gerry showed great courage and determination to keep going lovingly supported by Elaine.