Gerald Metz

Celebration of Life

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Friday, June 21, 2024
Freeman Funeral Home
47 East Main Street
Freehold, New Jersey, United States

Obituary of Gerald S Metz

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A Renaissance Man


Jerry Metz died on May 30th after a valiant 2 ½ year battle with pancreatic cancer. He was a true Renaissance Man, a fully-rounded man, knowledgeable, educated, and proficient in a wide range of fields, including the sciences, arts, and humanities. The ideal of the Renaissance Man, originated in the 15th century, was of a person limitless in their quest for development, seeking to embrace all knowledge and develop their own capacities as fully as possible, and doing many different things  very well – think Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein.

Jerry was a Renaissance Man from a young age. At 17, the director of a city-wide high-school chorus in New York asked him to conduct a rehearsal. While conducting, his eyes met those of Susan Shapiro across the proverbial crowded room, and the connection was instantaneous. Their relationship started from that moment forward, and continued through the rest of high school and their college years, with Jerry at Westminster Choir College and Sue at Barnard, culminating in their marriage in 1970 at ages 22 and 21. In their first year of marriage during the Vietnam war, Jerry received a low draft number, and was ordered to report for induction.  He filed for Conscientious Objector status, denied on the basis that “Jews can’t be Conscientious Objectors” and being labelled “an aggressive pacifist” in his challenge to the draft system.  Finally exempted from service for medical reasons, Jerry began his career teaching choral music and music appreciation to junior high school students without any curriculum, which he developed himself to help them “be more discriminating in what they were singing and more understanding of the difference between hearing and listening”, using the Beatles’ music for teaching purposes. Fifty years later, Jerry was still hearing on Facebook from students about how great their music education with him was!

Being told by the superintendent that music was not a priority, Jerry asked what was. Informed that math and science were educational priorities, he went back to school for preparation to teach math and science, with a side helping of computer science. He returned to his school to teach Algebra 1, where he developed an individually customized learning program for each student. Offered a high school position teaching computer science after 10 years of teaching music and one year of teaching math at the middle school level, he began to teach high school students in a school with limited computer resources, becoming the  resident technology expert. Learning from a colleague that American Bell was seeking part-time employees, he began a moonlighting as a computer system administrator. Loving this new work and realizing that he needed more advanced courses, he went back to school again to earn a Masters’ in Computer Science while working for fifteen years as a Bell Labs employee, traveling all over the country on technology projects, then moving to Northrop Grumman Aircraft for five years until retiring and taking up gourmet cooking.

Meanwhile, Sue and Jerry bought their house on Helen Avenue in Freehold when daughter Rebecca arrived. Soon Jerry joined the Monmouth Civic Chorus and continued for 43 years, serving as baritone soloist, assistant conductor, and board president. He also joined two other choruses, Princeton Pro Musica and Cantori New York, while teaching Becky to sing in her crib and encouraging her to pursue a life in the theater.

When Becky met Andy, her husband-to-be, Jerry and Sue welcomed him into the family with open arms. Becky and Andy have had a great example of lifelong love in Jerry and Sue’s relationship, 3 years before marriage and almost 54 years of marriage, as devoted to each other as they were when their eyes met across that crowded room.

When Jerry knew he was dying, he let friends and family know what was happening, and cherished what he called “the unanticipated benefits” of their having time to communicate what he meant to them and his impact on them, which he noted “you usually don’t get to hear after you’re gone.” As he resolutely came to terms with the process of dying, he gave us all an example of the true Renaissance Man, accepting the reality of impending death, exploring its dimensions, and giving us all 2 ½ years more of his extraordinary life, for which we will be forever grateful. 

Friends and family are invited to gather on Friday, June 21st , from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM, at Freeman Funeral Home, 47 East Main Street. To leave a condolence or find directions, visit

Memorial donations may be made to or  Home visitors may drop in on June 22 or 23 from 2 to 5 or 7 to 9 pm. 

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