Ronald and Barbara Meteyer share a love for teaching. Ron teaches biology, while Barbara is involved in special education. The dedicated educators also share a great love for each other. When that love manifested itself with the promise of a child, they were thrilled. Nearing the end of her pregnancy, Barb was in labor for a couple of days before she was instructed to head for St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor. When Ron returned home from work, he found Barb ready to go, her bag packed and sitting by the door. Since Ron did not have time to enjoy dinner before their trip, Ron left his laboring wife sitting in the car while he ran into Arby’s for a roast beef sandwich. Ron is still sometimes teased about this episode.
Ron and Barb welcomed their first child, a beautiful son, into their home and their hearts on October 11, 1972. In the years to come, Gerad Heath would be joined by his two younger brothers, Brett and Kyle. Brett’s close proximity in age gave him a special bond to his older brother. As the little brother, Kyle developed a sort of hero worship for his big brother. Even as they grew to adulthood, Kyle never stopped admiring Gerad’s many wonderful qualities.
While the Meteyers were engrossed in the wonder of the new life that had been entrusted to their loving care, the world outside was enthralled--and somewhat appalled--with the news of the scandal that was unfolding following the apprehension of five men who were attempting to bug the Democratic National Committee headquarters at Washington D.C.’s Watergate complex.
In addition to the arrival of young Gerad Meteyer, 1972 was a year that was known for a number of other famous “firsts.” It was the year that Time, Inc., brought forth HBO, the first pay cable network. The compact disc was developed by RCA. Atari introduced the arcade version of the first video game, Pong. Electronic mail, destined to change the nature of communication, made its debut in 1972. In the entertainment world, “The French Connection” garnered the Academy Award for Best Picture, while “All in the Family” dominated the Emmy Awards.
When Gerad was a child, the family lived in Ann Arbor and Novi. Later, they moved to Farmington Hills, where Gerad’s naturally gregarious personality was evident; he knew all of the neighbors in his subdivision. Gerad developed a deep attachment to his hometown.
Gerad was an all-American child, in every sense of the term. He romped around his neighborhood on his banana-seat bike, played GI Joe, and did back flip can-openers off the diving board at the pool.
His diagnosis with Type I Diabetes (then called Juvenile Onset Diabetes) on Super Bowl Sunday 1982, set the course for the rest of Gerad’s life. Despite his diabetes, Gerad’s fierce determination to lead a “normal” life led to varsity letters in football, swimming (diving), and track. There wasn’t anything that held Gerad back; he did it all. He had played soccer on a team that was coached by his father until the lure of the pigskin drew him into football. Gerad was a talented swimmer and a wonderful diver. He showed great promise as a discus thrower. Gerad was an avid collector of baseball cards and diet pop cans. His forever-inquisitive mind produced a creative assortment of artistic and practical projects. Gerad became an absolute sports fanatic. His family remarked that he “foamed at the mouth” when discussing baseball playoffs or fantasy football. He was a whiz at sports statistics. In his quieter moments, Gerad was an avid reader.
It is said that parents’ best lessons for their children are those that are imbued by example. Ron and Barb were the best parents a young man could have had. They instilled in all of their sons a great sense of moral responsibility and a deep commitment to helping others. Ron and Barb’s love for helping children manifested itself in Gerad’s career choice. He was employed in the restaurant industry and also in his great love, early childhood education.
Gerad started his formal education at Kenbrook Elementary School. He moved on to O. E. Dunckel Middle School and North Farmington High School, eventually earning his bachelor’s degree in early childhood development from Michigan State University and Marygrove College. Both of Gerad’s brothers followed his lead into the field of education. In fact, Gerad and Brett attended MSU together.
Family members say that Gerad never took a vacation that he didn’t like. Southern California and the Caribbean were among his favorite destinations, but he also cherished the many trips to the family cottage in Gaylord. Gerad was happy anywhere, as long as he could relax and get away from it all.
Family ties were tremendously important to Gerad. He was extremely close to the whole family, from the most distant relatives to the immediate family, most of whom still reside in the Farmington Hills area. Gatherings with aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents brought out the best in Gerad. He loved his role as “Uncle” to Ambrose and Ainsley. The children gave him immense joy. As the years went on, maintaining and strengthening family bond was a priority to Gerad.
Gerad Meteyer was a young man who enjoyed living for its own sake. He was devoted to his family and they cherished him. His most vibrant smiles came when he was with family and friends, whether at a barbeque or a bonfire.
We will all remember Gerad’s lighthearted nature; the world would be a less worrisome place if we all lived by his example. His greatest virtue was his intrinsic goodness. He sincerely enjoyed helping others, and society will truly miss his altruism and generosity.
Gerad Meteyer passed away on September 3, 2007, at the age of 34. He was the beloved son of Ronald and Barbara Meteyer and the dear brother of Brett (Cindy) and Kyle (Sarah). Gerad’s loving grandmother, Rose Meteyer, also survives him, as do his many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. He was the proud uncle of Ambrose and Ainsley, who will miss him dearly. Gerad welcomed home his beloved "Gramps," Richard Meteyer, on December 1, 2007.
McCabe Funeral Home
Farmington Hills, Michigan