Gerald R. “Jerry” Peairs, 86, of St. Petersburg, a retired, highly respected superintendent of the Allegheny-Clarion Valley School District passed away Thursday afternoon, July 2, 2020 in the comfort of his home.
Gerald was born on August 3, 1933, to Frank and Verne Osborne Peairs, the youngest of six children. He was raised on a dairy farm near Herminie, Westmoreland County. He attended Yough High School in the Sewickley Township School District, graduating in 1952 as the Valedictorian. Jerry attended the University of Pittsburgh on a senatorial scholarship, graduating in 1956 with a Bachelor of Science degree in education, with a major in biological sciences and minors in political and physical sciences. While at the University of Pittsburgh, he was an active member of the Sigma Chi fraternity and manager of the wrestling team, and was selected to the Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) honorary society in recognition of his school activities.
Jerry began his teaching career at North Braddock High School in 1956 with his lifelong friend, Bernie Oriss. He obtained a Masters in Education in 1960, and continued graduate courses for educational administration through 1970. He was the principal for South Junior High School and then Gateway High School in Monroeville. Jerry and his family moved to St. Petersburg in 1971 where he served as the elementary supervisor for the Allegheny Clarion Valley School District, until he was promoted to superintendent of schools for the District in 1973. He served as superintendent until 1989, when he retired due to a stroke.
During his tenure as superintendent, Jerry provided guidance and support to countless teachers, administrators, staff and students, a pattern that continued long past his retirement.
Jerry is survived by his wife, Susan Short Peairs, whom he married on June 13, 1959 at the First Baptist Church in Oakland; his sons, Dr. Randall Peairs, and his wife, Mary Clair and Scott Peairs and his wife, Paula; a daughter, Dr. Kimberly Peairs, and her husband, Dr. Landon King; his grandchildren, Emily and Harrison Peairs, Eric, Doug, and Aidan Peairs, and Andrew and Margaret King; three nieces, Yvonne Montgomery, Sandra Reese, and Sherry Oneill; as well as a surrogate son, Major Steven Spiker, and his wife, Christina, and their sons, Ben and Heath.
In addition to his parents, Jerry was preceded in death by an infant sister, a brother, Cecil Peairs and his wife, Ruth, a sister, Madlyn Oneill and her husband, Bill, and a sister, Lorraine Nicholls and her husband, Delmar.
Friends will be received at the Hile Funeral Home Inc., 802 Grove St., St. Petersburg, from 2 – 4 and 6 – 8 p.m. today (Monday). A funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday from the St. Petersburg United Methodist Church, 180 Church Street, with the Rev. Dan Myers, retired church pastor, officiating. Interment will follow in the St. Petersburg Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the St. Petersburg Volunteer Fire Department, PO Box 81, St. Petersburg, PA 16054 or the St. Petersburg United Methodist Church, PO Box 281, St. Petersburg, PA 16054. Condolences may be sent by visiting www.hilefh.com.
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