NEW CITY – Former Rockland County Legislator Gerold Bierker, who died Thursday at the age of 81, is being remembered as someone who got along with just about everyone, no matter their worldview.
“I’m heartbroken to learn of the passing of my friend and former legislative colleague, Gerry Bierker,” Legislator Alden Wolfe said. “One word comes to mind when I think of him – gentleman. Gerry was a gentleman who treated everyone with great respect.”
Bierker, a political Conservative, practiced a different brand of politics than what is often seen today. Strongly opinionated, he nonetheless civilly debated issues with members of opposing parties and differing views and worked to find common ground for the benefit of the overall community, current lawmakers agree.
“It wasn’t so long ago that a dyed-in-the-wool Conservative and a progressive Democrat could actually disagree while still respecting one another and finding common ground in service to our community,” Wolfe said.
Bierker, who lived in Bardonia and represented District 9, served three four-year terms on the legislature before deciding he would not seek reelection in 2012.
During his tenure on the legislature, he was active on numerous issues, including deer management, redistricting and budgeting, among others.
He also served as the legislature’s liaison to the State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Fish and Wildlife Management Board, of which he became chairman.
Prior to serving on the lawmaking body, Bierker spent decades as an educator, including principal of Clarkstown South High School, assistant principal at Clarkstown North, and as a math teacher.
In his private life, he was very active with Germonds Presbyterian Church in Bardonia and West Nyack Rotary.
His volunteer pursuits also included serving on the Rockland County Disabilities Advisory Council, which works to address accessibility concerning public buildings, public transportation, employment and other issues.
“Gerry will be missed and on behalf of the entire legislature, I offer our sincerest condolences to his family,” Wolfe said. “I feel fortunate to have known and worked with him. He was truly one of a kind.”
Bierker’s funeral service will be open to family only but will be recorded and posted to the Germonds Presbyterian Church website.