Gerry Coker Memorial
A Celebration of Life for Gerry Coker was held on January 9 at Twin Lakes Park in Sarasota County. A stiff, chilly wind off the Gulf, along with the still-present threat of COVID-19, did little to affect the attendance. Over 40 members from both the Suncoast British Car Club and the Healey Club from Tampa were present. Gerry was an avid participant and long-time member of both clubs right up until the end of his 98 years. [Gerry’s Bio is in the Nov. 30, 2020 Events post.]
The memorial was organized and presided over by Walt Mainberger, the new SBCC president. Other speakers sharing their memories of Gerry included his daughter, Faye, Jim Wilson, outgoing SBCC president, Bill Borja, president Tampa Bay Austin Healey Club, Bill Emerson, president Historic Healeys and John Nikas, author (with Gerry) of Healey – The Men & The Machines. With a number of Healeys as a backdrop, we were all reminded of Gerry’s long and interesting career, the highlight of which was responsibility for the body design of the Austin Healey 100, which debuted in 1952, and the preliminary body styling of the Austin-Healey Sprite. Still, the two themes that emerged from all of the speakers were Gerry’s keen sense of humor and his love of family. Perhaps this combination was a key to his longevity.
It was an honor to have Gerry Coker as a member of our club, and a privilege to have known him.
Photos by Joan & John Magine and this contributor. Thanks also to Anita Woods and Bruce Skaggs.