Commentary: Gerry fought the battle to the end, with gusto ·

Let it never be said that Gerald Mederos was afraid to go to battle. Even when the odds were stacked against him, he always found a way to survive.

He had great trust in God. Despite numerous surgeries, he found a way to live another day. Maybe it was his faith, maybe it was his love of family, or maybe it was his continued drive to play contra bass with his beloved Hawthorne Caballeros Alumni Drum & Bugle Corps. Whatever it was, Gerald never gave up.

Unfortunately, his enduring battle to stay alive ended July 13, when he passed from this life. He was just 57 years of age.
Gerry, as he was called most often by family and friends, packed as much life and gusto into those 57 years as one could imagine.

I remember vividly a warm summer’s night in the early 1970s, when I formally introduced him to the world of drum and bugle corps music, by letting him borrow one of my drum corps albums featuring the Hawthorne Muchachos junior drum and bugle corps. After listening to just a few opening bars of their Spanish style music, he was hooked.

“You’re the one who got me started on this,” he would tell me repeatedly. “I’ll always thank you for that.”

Aside from his devotion to his wife, Maureen, children and grandchildren, Gerry’s other two loves were drum corps and the Bristol Fourth of July Committee. He put as much time and emphasis into both groups as anyone I ever met.

For starters, Gerry was proud to have performed with the Rhode Island Picadors Junior Drum & Bugle Corps of Bristol and the Rhode Island Matadors Senior Drum & Bugle Corps of Providence. But when the Matadors disbanded in 1987, he sorely needed to continue his drum corps odyssey. A year later, he helped devise a plan to start a new drum corps in Bristol, called Generations.

It was a marriage made in heaven.
Generations gave Gerry new life and afforded him the opportunity to make beautiful music with a number of other former drum corps members from the Matadors, Bristol Kingsmen, Bristol Rangers, Rhode Island Musketeers and Tri-Town Cavaliers, to name a few. Right into the 1990s, Generations wowed the crowd, mostly during exhibitions and parades, with their exciting brand of music.

As that corps gradually passed, Gerry hooked up with the Florida Brass Drum & Bugle Corps and, most recently, with the renowned Hawthorne Caballeros Alumni Corps. Even when he was sick, he’d drive to American Legion Post No. 199 in Hawthorne, NJ, to practice with the Caballeros Alumni. And I’m not talking about a leisurely jaunt to the corner drugstore. This trip took hours, but, Gerry being Gerry, he was not to be denied.

“My brother loved drum corps as much as anyone I ever knew,” said older brother, Anthony “Tony” Mederos. “It was always in his blood. And he loved the Bristol Fourth of July celebration.”

The brothers Mederos teamed up as members of the Bristol Fourth of July Committee, working on a number of subcommittees, including the annual “Summer Music Preview” Drum and Bugle Corps competition. They made many friends along the way, too numerous to name here.

Gerry Mederos, the son of the late Anthony and Mary Mederos, also belonged to the Bristol Fire Department’s Dreadnaught Hook, Ladder & Hose Co. No. 1, the Bristol Fire Police, Bristol Democratic Town Committee, and the Bristol County Lodge of Elks No. 1860. He also was a U.S. Navy Veteran.

Always smiling and full of laughter, Gerry Mederos has moved on to a quieter, more serene place where pain and suffering is not an issue. His big-as-life presence will never fade from his beloved hometown of Bristol. He will be dearly missed by all those who knew and loved him. And, believe me, that number is incomprehensible. May he finally rest in peace.