Gerard Belanger
Gerard Belanger
Gerard Belanger
Gerard Belanger
Gerard Belanger
Gerard Belanger

Obituary of Gerard Norman Belanger

Gerard Norman Belanger, resident of Haddonfield, passed away peacefully in his home March 27, 2019, surrounded by family, at the age of 98.
 
He was the beloved husband of the late Margaret Belanger (nee Underwood); loving father of Faith Belanger of East Brunswick, NJ, Lorelie Belanger of Haddonfield, NJ and Christine Belanger of Seattle, WA; proud grandfather of Elizabeth Santaniello of Durango, CO; and uncle and great uncle to many nieces and nephews.

Gerard, fondly known as Jerry, was born September 7, 1920 in Willimantic, Connecticut.  He was the second son of Solomon and Laura Belanger. He was raised on their farm in Willimantic with his two brothers Roland and Robert. When not in school the boys spent time with their chickens, dogs, cats and a dairy cow. Jerry even had his own flock of pigeons. Jerry and his brothers also helped their grandfather stomp grapes and berries to make homemade wine.

In 1938 at the age of 18 he joined the US Army Air Corps.  He served in WWII as a navigator on transport planes delivering US built planes to the UK and then as a pilot of the Flying Fortress, the B-17.  He continued flying after the war and served in Turkey training Turkish pilots. There he met his wife Margaret who was working with the U.S. Army and previously the Red Cross. Jerry and Margaret fell in love overseas and were married in Ankara, Turkey. By the 1960's they had traveled to over 45 states and 34 countries.

While in the service Jerry continued his studies in the field of education and earned his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science. Jerry retired from the United States Air Force after 23 years in 1961 at the rank of Major. Major Belanger's last position in the Air Force was as Director of Personnel with a Strategic Air Command Wing. After he retired he earned a Master of Science in Psychology in 1962 from Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida.

In 1963 he entered the Unity School of Ministerial and Religious Studies in Lee’s Summit, Missouri and became the student assistant to James Dillet Freeman, then the Director of Training. He was ordained a Unity Minister in 1966 by Lowell Fillmore, son of Charles and Myrtle Fillmore the co-founders of Unity. In the same year he became the Minister of Christ Church Unity in Rochester, NY where he was instrumental in designing and building a new church with the congregation and architects that represents the Unity principles. He served there for the next 13 years. 

Under his leadership Unity became well known in the community and the congregation grew. Jerry viewed the ministry as a natural culmination of his varied life experiences working with people. He said "every person has an intuitive feeling that he has a greater self than that which he is presently expressing”. He strived to help people understand the Unity teachings by developing courses which also related to fields such as physics, psychology, physiology and other world religions. 

Reverend Belanger remained active in the work of the Association of Unity Churches throughout his life.  He served on the AUC Board of Trustees, the Ministerial Advisory Committee and as Vice President and President of the Eastern Regional Conference.  After he left Rochester, he moved to North Carolina to be the minister at the Unity Church in Charlotte.

When Jerry retired from the ministry, he moved to Tallahassee, Florida and then later he moved to the Daytona Beach area where he resided until 2009 when he moved to Haddonfield to live with his daughter, Lorelie and granddaughter, Liz.  He became an active member of the American Legion Post #38 and the Unity Church of Christ in Mt. Laurel.  He was a man of science, faith, imagination and flight.

Even in his last years Jerry continued to make new friends from different religions, backgrounds and cultures. He loved connecting with others. He was often seen tipping his hat to people on the street and going out of his way to say hello. His key to life was simple "just love people" which he did, with a smile and a sparkle in his eyes.  He loved and was beloved by many and will live forever in our hearts.   
 
The family will receive relatives and friends Saturday, May 18, 2019 2:00PM at the Unity Church of Christ, 629 South Church St., Mt. Laurel Township, NJ 08054. Interment of ashes with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA will take place in the coming months. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in honor of Reverend Gerard Belanger to Unity Church of Christ, 629 South Church St., Mt Laurel Township, NJ 08054 (http://www.theunitychurch.org), American Legion Post #38, 129 Veterans Lane Haddonfield, NJ 08033, or the Greater Unity Church of Rochester, 55 Prince St., Rochester, NY 14607 (http://unityrochester.org). Arrangements under the direction of COSTANTINO FUNERAL HOME, 231 W. WHITE HORSE PIKE BERLIN, NJ 08009. For additional information or to email lasting condolences;COSTANTINOFH.COM. 
 
 

love across the sky

 

his war

was the great war––

the war before

our memory.

 

his birth reached back

nearly a century.

 

he was a pilot

of grand, propeller-driven

bombers––

 

every time he donned

his leather jacket

& his captain’s cap,

his soul smiled

because the world

was his.

 

the honesty &

confidence

of that smile

will never pass

away.

 

he flew across

oceans & around

& around the spinning

globe––

 

all the smells & sounds

& secrets of

everywhere

were his.

 

he took a wife

in swirling

love

& raised a

family––

 

all the romance

of life

belonged to

him.

 

he became

a minister

so he could fly

his parishioners

to heaven––

 

& when he made

his final flight––

he was radiating

love & blowing

kisses––

 

his soul

just couldn’t stop

smiling

 

 

     Major Gerard Belanger

     Army Air Corp/U.S. Air Force

 

love across the sky by Robert Schneck