Gerald ‘Gerry’ Sakats of Richmond, VA, passed away on Saturday morning October 21st following a courageousfight with cancer.
He is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Iris Leggett Sakats; his three children Sharon (Mark) Considine and Thomas Sakats of Richmond and Steve (Kathy) Sakats of Naperville, IL; three grandchildren Tyler (Mallory) Sakats of Hopkinton, MA, Mark (Katy) Sakats of Wheaton, IL, and Hannah Sakats of Downers Grove, IL; and his great grandson Ryan.
Gerry was born on December 1, 1930 in New York City, New York to Sigmond and Catherine Sakats. He attended the exclusive Stuyvesant High School is New York City. He attended Georgia Institute Technology on a Navy ROTC scholarship after receiving a recommendation from decorated Navy Hero Captain Eddie Rickenbacker. He graduated in 1954 with a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering. He was proud of his Naval service and was chosen to participate in the Navy’s first guided missile program – Regulus. He continued his military service in the Naval Reserve, retiring his commission as Lieutenant Commander.
Gerry married Iris Hope Leggett June 19, 1953. Iris and Gerry met at a local skating rink while in Atlanta. He left active duty in November 1957 to join the Navy reserves and begin his career in the High Voltage Electrical Power Switchgear Industry as an engineer with The General Electric Company. He had a very successful career working for GE, S&C Electric Company, and Powercon Corporation in manufacturing and sales leadership positions. During his career, he earned several US patents and served on committees of IEEE.
After he officially ‘retired’ in 1999, Gerry served as an expert witness, volunteered with the Chesterfield Fire Department as an EMT, volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate in Chesterfield County (a nonprofit organization committed to advocating for the best interests of children involved in the juvenile court process) and served on Former United States Representative Eric Cantor’s Constituent Advisory Committee. In 2008, Iris and Gerry were inducted into the Senior Volunteer Hall of Fame in Chesterfield Courthouse.
Gerry was a typical engineer with great curiosity and a passion for learning. He consistently surprised people with his in-depth knowledge on many subjects. When asked how he knew about a topic, he answered, “I read.” He lived his live with the utmost integrity and taught his children that the only thing people cannot take from you is your integrity.
A private memorial service for the family will be held in the future.
Please send donations to Chesterfield CASA, 9457 Amberdale Drive, Richmond, VA 23236, if you would like to honor Gerry’s life and memory.