Gerard Previl was born May 30, 1930 in the country of Haiti, West Indies. He was the third child of Solomene Sirile and Privene Previl’s five children, and the younger of two sons. His sisters remember that he always loved to learn and would save up money to buy books; he loved to gather knowledge. After he completed his studies at L’Ecole Carrefour, and the family moved to Port-au-Prince, he wanted to work, and he was known to take on any jobs that he could do. Gerard was very industrious and loved to stay busy. He loved to learn new things, but at the same time he loved playing soccer or ‘futbol’ in the streets with his friends.
Gerard came to the United States in the early 1960's. In New York City, Gerard has held a number of jobs, including working as a law clerk in a large practice for many years. In 1966, Gerard married Liley Cookman. Together, as a couple, they shared many special times with their family and friends. They shared a love of travel, music, the arts, literature and dancing.
Speaking of dancing, Gerard and Liley were awesome dancers. To be sure you would have a great party, you would only need to know that Gerard and Liley were there. They would be first on the dance floor! They danced beautifully together and encouraged even the shyest person to dance with them. They made you laugh and smile. They were indeed the ‘life of the party.’ Along with his wife, Gerard had a zest for life. He did not mind being the center of attention, for he was a confident and proud man. Gerard was always well dressed. He was enthusiastic about meeting new people. He was a very sociable person and had no problems striking up conversation with complete strangers. Because of his love of reading, he was very intelligent and witty, very knowledgeable, and never at a loss of words or conversation. Some of us experienced losing arguments with Uncle Gerard. If he knew he was right, you were definitely wrong and that was that.
In spite of any friction you may have had with Gerard, family and friends meant a whole lot to him. He loved being at family gatherings, taking pictures, and overall having a good time. He often walked with a recorder, to record conversations. It seems like he wanted to hold on to those moments because he cherished it so. He often taped conversations with his mother whenever she talked about family history.
Gerard loved talking about his travels, and he had been to a number of places including several countries in the West Indies, Europe, and the Holy Land. His favorite stories were about Egypt; he told he was almost arrested because the police thought he was a reporter - carrying that recorder almost got him into trouble. Egyptian police also thought he was trying to impersonate the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat (that president was alive at the time).
Gerard came from a family of devout Catholics; they were very prayerful people. Although Gerard like to party, he was pretty serious about his Catholic faith. We all remember him traveling with his Bible often. Gerard has been a parishioner of St. Teresa of Avila for over 50 years and when he lived on his own, he has always resided on St. Johns Place, but at two different addresses. He was an active member of the Legion of Mary for years. At the senior apartments, he was involved with a prayer group that said the Rosary daily, and participated in the Mass that was said there monthly for the residents.
Gerard, or 'Pere Ge,' as he is known to his sisters, became sick towards the later years of his life. He loved living at St Teresa’s apartments, but when he became ill, he went to the nursing home. He wanted more than anything to return back to his home, and he was able to do so with help until his health deteriorated again. During his last days, his love of life was apparent as he held on so dearly, hospital staff were amazed at his tenacity until his last breath.
Gerard is preceded in death by his parents, brother Andre Previl, and beloved wife Liley Previl.
Gerard is survived by his sisters Marie Germaine Previl, Ermite Wattley, Paulette Galette, sister-in-law Lucienne Previl, nieces and nephews and their families, other family members, friends, and anyone whose life he touched.
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