Gerald "Jerry" B. Olender

3/26/43 - 8/30/20

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Photo courtesy of Art KoutrasPhoto courtesy of Olender family

Jerry Olender was born in Amsterdam, NY. He had a fine baritone voice and sang in his high school choir. After attending the University at Buffalo (State University of New York), he enlisted in the United States Air Force and received his navigator wings at Mather AFB in 1966. He was deployed to Vietnam where he flew missions back and forth to the U.S. for two years. He later flew as a navigator for Seaboard and also for Flying Tigers. Jerry loved the military and served in the New York Air National Guard with the 109th Airlift Wing and with the 106th Rescue Wing in Westhampton Beach, NY. He retired with the rank of colonel in 1998.

Jerry met his first wife, Helga Schroeder, on an airplane from New York to Albany. She was a geologist studying the recent NASA-acquired moon rocks at Dudley Observatory. They were married in February 1973 and had two children - a son Gavin, who currently resides in Bremen, Germany with his wife and three children; and a daughter, Andrea, who lives in New Jersey, with her husband and two children. Jerry spent his retirement years doing volunteer work in the Westhampton Beach community. He served as a member of daily services at the Hampton Synagogue for eighteen years. For over fifteen years he volunteered as an usher at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center. He especially enjoyed volunteering for assignments at school day and at circus performances. Later, he brought his second wife Sharon into volunteer service.

Jerry met Dr. Sharon Fagan, a resident of Remsenburg, in 2007. Sharon, an award-winning educator, had worked as Director of Special Programs at Eastern Suffolk BOCES (Boards of Cooperative Educational Services) for twenty‑three years. She was an East End Women’s Network Woman of The Year and served as the NY State Education Department’s Coordinator of the Suffolk County Gateway Program, which opened doors to education, workplace training and employment. They married in 2010 and spent many happy years traveling the world and spending time with family and friends. Jerry welcomed Sharon’s daughter, Julie Ehrman, her husband Michael, and their three sons into his own family.

Jerry is survived by his wife, Sharon, of Westhampton, NY; son Gavin, (Lubba) and grandchildren Leila, Aiden and Ethan of Bremen, Germany; daughter, Andrea Hester (Roy) and grandchildren Jack and Katie of Sicklerville, NJ; stepdaughter Julie Ehrman (Michael) and grandsons Brendan, Hudson and Shea of Plano, Texas; and brothers Dr. Irving Olender of Campbell, Calif.; Robert Olender of Charleston, SC.; and Arnold Olender of Marietta, GA.

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