Posted on April 5th, 2021
World Drum Corps Hall of Fame (WDCHoF) member Frank Gerris, age 79, passed away April 2 in Hawthorne, New Jersey. He was inducted in the WDCHoF in 1992 and the New Jersey Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 2000. His involvement in drum corps activity began at age 7 playing soprano horn with Our Lady of Good Counsel, joining Woodsiders in 1956.
Because of pandemic restrictions, visiting hours were private. The funeral mass was scheduled for 9:30 am Wednesday, April 7 at St. Anthony’s Roman Catholic Church, 276 Diamond Bridge Avenue in Hawthorne with entombment following at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Totowa. Cards of sympathy can be sent to 44 Hawthorne Avenue, Hawthorne, NJ 07506. Memorial donations can be made to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, Hawthorne Caballeros PO Box 2148, Wayne, NJ 07474-2148. Make cheques payable to Hawthorne Caballeros or Cabs Alumni, c/o Steve Raclowski, 49 Sand Hill Road, Vernon, NJ 07462.
Frank Gerris enjoyed a long association with Hawthorne Caballeros starting in 1979 as drill designer and instructor, staff coordinator from 1984 until 2001, then general manager. He recently served as a member of the board of directors. During his years of service, the Caballeros won five Drum Corps Associates (DCA) championships up to the year of his induction into the WDCHoF. He was a member of the committee that was instrumental in getting the Hawthorne Caballeros inducted into the Library Hall of Congress.
Drum Corps International (DCI) accepted his proposal that field judges use tape recorders while evaluating corps on the contest field. His proposal to allow competing corps to start their routine at any position on the field was accepted by DCA. He served as chair of the DCA marching and maneuvring rules congress and helped re-write the DCA rulebook.
He judged many contests for marching bands, drum and bugle corps and color guards, including DCA and DCI contests.
In addition to his long association with the Caballeros, he served with other notable drum and bugle corps. He was drill designer and instructor for the Woodsiders and Hawthorne Muchachos. He was drum major of Ballantine Brewers drum and bugle corps of Newark, NJ. He was both brass instructor and director of St. Michael’s of Jersey City, NJ.
He is survived by Bonita “Bonnie” (nee Costello) Gerris, sons Frank Gerris of East Windsor and Charles Gerris of Brick. His third son Michael Gerris passed away in 2006. He is also survived by his brother-in-law James Costello, sister-in-law Sheila Costello, and his nieces Shealyn and Mackenzie Costello. He is also survived by his former wife Dianna (nee Hrunka).
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