Bro. Gerard Harasym, SDB
Nov. 12, 1936 – Aug. 25, 2016
Bro. Jerry passed away in a saintly manner after a two-year struggle with cancer on Thursday, Aug. 25 at Surrey Memorial Hospital at the age of 79. He will always be known as a dedicated Salesian Brother, a terrific youth minister and a creative artist. Involved in many civic and community affairs, he was known for leading youth renewal retreats in various places in Canada and the U.S.A., creating artwork for a local repertory company in Stony Point, N.Y., and serving at L’Arch Community in Ottawa, Ontario. He is listed in Who’s Who in the East.
The son of John A. Harasym and Viola Lindberg, Gerard Harasym was born in Saint-Boniface, Manitoba, on Nov. 12, 1936. He grew up in East Kildonan (Winnipeg), attending St. Alphonsus Catholic Elementary School. His high schooling consisted of two years at St. Mary’s College in Brockville, Ontario, followed by a year (1958-59) at Don Bosco Technical High School in Paterson, N.J. (U.S.A.), a school run by the Salesians of Don Bosco.
On Sept. 1, 1958, he entered the pre-novitiate program of the Salesians of Don Bosco in Paterson, N.J. He made his first profession of vows as a Salesian Brother on Sept. 9, 1960, at Don Bosco College in Newton, N.J. He studied at the college and worked in the public relations office from 1960 to 1965. From there he went to Elizabeth, N.J., to serve as the coordinator of youth ministry from 1965 to 1970.
Bro. Jerry studied art at the Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio, from 1970 to 1974, when he earned a bachelor of fine arts degree. During that same period he served as the director of arts and crafts at the Salesian Boys Club of Columbus. He created several pieces of fine art which can still be found in Salesian locations in Canada and the U.S.A. From 1974 to 1981, Bro. Jerry was the national director of a school organization for children, called The Savio Club. He edited their monthly publication, Savio Notes. During that time he lived in Newton, N.J. and West Haverstraw, N.Y.
Retaining his Canadian citizenship, Bro. Jerry returned to Toronto where he earned a bachelor of education degree from the University of Toronto in 1982. He continued teaching after that, serving on the faculty of the Don Bosco Secondary School in Weston, Ontario, where he specialized in visual arts and as a special education teacher. In 1989, he moved to Montreal to serve as the coordinator of youth ministry at Mission Dominic Savio, a post he held for seven years. He was also a pastoral animator for the Diocese of Montreal from 1991 to 1996.
From 1996 to 2002, Bro. Jerry worked at St. Benedict Parish in the Etobicoke area of Toronto, Ontario where he held the position of Salesian community treasurer and the coordinator of youth ministry. On Sept. 5, 2002, he moved to Surrey, B.C., to join the pastoral animation effort of the Salesians of Don Bosco at Our Lady of Good Council Parish, the largest parish in the archdiocese of Vancouver.
Jerry carried many talents including teaching, figure skating, singing, dancing, not to mention his amazing artistic ability and lifelong devotion to the church and community. Throughout the years of his travels he brought sunshine to all he met and will always be remembered. He was a professed Salesian Brother for 56 years. He is predeceased by his mother Viola and father John Harasym, sister Rosemary Harper; is survived by nieces Leah (Mar, Blayse, Max) Harper, Angela Harper, great niece Malikiya Harper, and great nephews Latiyfe, Kiseriyan, and Jahziyon Harper, as well as numerous extended family with the Salesians of Don Bosco and numerous friends throughout Canada and U.S.A.
Funeral services will be held at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, 10460 139th St., Surrey, B.C. On Monday, Aug. 29, the reception of body and viewing will begin at 5:00 p.m. On Tuesday, Aug. 30, the viewing will be held from 4– 6 p.m., followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 7:00 p.m. The burial will take place at Gardens of Gethsemani Cemetery, 15800 32 Ave., Surrey, B.C. on Wednesday, Aug. 31, at 10:00 a.m.