Gerald "Jerry" Bocci, Sr., 84, of Grosse Pointe Park passed away peacefully on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 at Beaumont Grosse Pointe. He was born April 18, 1938 in Detroit to Victor and Mildred (nee Hughes) Bocci, both now deceased.
First and forever, Jerry "Papa" to many was a devoted husband, father, and special Grandfather to his five grandchildren here in Grosse Pointe Park- often seen at the wheel - either driving to or from the many activities his grandchildren enjoyed.
Jerry was a running All-State miler at Deny High School in Detroit, and held that honor and record for the fastest mile for several years. His high school running achievements also offered him a scholarship to attend Western Michigan University when he graduated from Denby in 1956.
After college, he served as the cross country running coach for Servite High School in Detroit from 1961-1963. In 1965, he married Jeanne (nee Rautio) and encouraged his wife to become an avid runner and walker as well. He trained himself as a racewalker and competed with the top ten walkers in the United States - making the US Olympic Trials in both 1968 and 1972.
Jerry and Jeanne continued to compete in both running and walking races for many years, and the two together ran in a marathon race in all 50 states- including Alaska and Hawaii in their later years.
He worked as a social worker supervisor for the State of Michigan for more than 40 years, and enjoyed his retirement with his wife, Jeanne, and their grandchildren.
Jerry enjoyed his non competitive running days as a USA Track and Field (USAT&F) and Amateur Athletic Union(AAU) official and competition judge, traveling all over the United States to officiate events for youth and college athletes in track and field.
He is survived by his wife of almost 57 years, Jeanne (nee Rautio), his son Gerald "Jerry Jr." Bocci (Courtney), his daughter Geralyn (David) Turner, his five grandchildren - who meant the world to him -, Morgen "Cody" Bocci, Brandon Turner, Liana "Alyx" Bocci, Samantha Turner, and Kaelinn "Rocky" Bocci. He is also survived by his loving sister Charlene Westen and many nieces and nephews.
A CELEBRATION OF LIFE will be held on Thursday, May 19,
2022 at Tompkins Community Center 14920 Windmill Pointe Drive, Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan 48230.
In lieu of flowers Jerry "Papa" Bocci would love any donation to your local youth sports programs.
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