It is with a sad heart that we come to terms with the loss of a wonderful friend and brother. On the morning of May 11th, 2012, Brother Jerry Garati ’89 passed away due to complications from a recent cardiac arrest. Jerry will be laid to rest in a private family service. The Minnesota Alumni Society will be collecting donations for a memorial fund in his memory. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations are preferred.

DNR Nongame Wildlife Fund
500 Lafayette Rd, Box 25
St. Paul, MN, 55155

Led by the efforts of Br. Steve Ehrfurth and Br. Brian Bergson, MN alumni from all over have been tirelessly sharing memories and stories at this page to help keep Jerry’s legacy alive.  Throughout the past week, I have been deeply moved and touched at the response of brothers — those that knew him and those that didn’t.  The loss of Jerry is undeniably tragic, but it has served to reunite old friends and bring otherwise silent brothers out of the woodwork to honor a man that had immeasurable impact on people.

Some select quotes from those Alpha Delts fortunate enough to know Br. Garati in person:

“I remember living in the house during the summer of 1990 with Jerry. I lived in the room a top of the stairs and Jerry was next door. He rode his 10 speed bike everywhere he went. Both of us were trying to figure out what to do with school in Fall. We helped each other get through that summer as we dealt with our own personal situations.”

“He was a great guy and true Brother….I have nothing but positive memories…always a smile…..Heaven is a better place tonite by his mere presence….RIP Jerry Garati…I loved his great Lou Holtz imitation.”

“He was always very low key and never took or sought excessive recognition for anything. He was always around during work weekends and worked his ass off. He stuck to our late 80’s group pretty much, too.”

“He was devoted to things he cared about, like hunting, cycling, and friends. He was always the first bro. cleaning up the morning after a house party, even when he wasn’t living at the house, and even if he had not gone to the party. He was also the first bro. to volunteer. He was always in fashion: fishing gear, camouflage, spandex and biking cleats – always in season. He once had a cycling accident on his way to the house. An area of his thigh became swollen to the size of a large grapefruit through is biking shorts, but it didn’t bother him even though it was an alarming sight for anybody in close vicinity. His nickname for pretty girls was “betty.” He was appreciative of bettys, dated a couple bettys, and would frequently refer to bros. as bettys. As we all worked towards graduating, Jerry took a job painting planes for Northwest Airlines. He confided that he would scratch the ADPhi letters discretely on the underbellies of the planes he painted. He was studying to become a member of the ground crew for Northwest when I graduated and lost contact with him. My final memory of him was that he was upset when a pilot unloaded on him because he brought a plane to a full stop too fast, startling the pilot and jostling the passengers (he was still practicing afterall). He was laughing as he told the story and typically irreverent toward anybody who took themselves too seriously. Before cell phones (at least phones smaller and less heavy than a car battery), email, and social networking, I would occasionally fly through MSP and, while looking out the window at the ground crew, wonder what happened to Jerry.  Although I know nothing about his life the past 20 years, the person who made an impression on me surely made an impression on everybody who was lucky enough to know him. I am grateful to have known him.”

If anyone has memories, stories, or photos of Jerry, Steve Ehrfurth is putting together a memorial piece to give to his family. Please send any story or photo contributions to:

Steve Ehrfurth at steve.ehrfurth@gmail.com
or Brian Bergson at bergson@comcast.net

Nik VanDenMeerendonk, MN ’05
Secretary
Alpha Delta Phi MN Alumni Board

*UPDATE*
The following is Br. Garati’s obituary from the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

“Garati, Jerry Steven beloved son, brother, uncle and dear friend, age 46, of Bloomington passed away peacefully on May 11, 2012, with his family at his side. Survived by parents, Al and Jan Garati; sister, Gwen Garati; and niece, Breanne Garati. Jerry was an avid fisherman, hunter and a true lover of nature and the outdoors. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations are preferred DNR Nongame Wildlife Fund, 500 Lafayette Rd, Box 25, St. Paul, MN, 55155. Jerry will be laid to rest in a private family service. He will be missed deeply by all those who knew and loved him.”
– published in the Star Tribune on May 16, 2012