Jerry Kiralfy, WWII vet, director of the Lititz Rec Center, active at Trinity E.C., patriotic

By on May 3, 2017

Jerry Kiralfy, who was for many years a fixture at the Lititz recCenter, has died. Kiralfy, residing in Manheim, passed away on April 29.

According to his obituary, he enjoyed a full life. He served in the US Navy during World War II, and was married to the love of his life, Nancy (Hull) Kiralfy, for 69 years.

“Jerry was a great story-teller! After two of our sons joined the US Navy, he would ask us about them every week at church. He loved to tell us stories about his time in the Navy,” said Mindy Elmer, Lititz Record correspondent. “He especially enjoyed telling about his time in the Navy flier training program that was run by Franklin and Marshall College out of the Lancaster Airport. When he was ready for his first solo flight, his instructor told him to go up, fly at a certain heading ‘until you see the red barn’ and then turn and come back to the airport. ‘I got up there and all I saw were red barns! I didn’t know which red barn to turn at!’ Needless to say, he did make it back to the airport and successfully landed.

“Kiralfy loved God, his family, his country, and the US Navy,” Elmer continued. “He was especially proud of his sons who also served.”

Jerry Kiralfy (seated) and his family during last year’s endowment luncheon at Moravian Manor.

Jerry Kiralfy (seated) and his family during last year’s endowment luncheon at Moravian Manor.

Kiralfy always appreciated a hard day’s work, starting in his youth in Pittsburgh, where he helped his father supervise newspaper boys for the Pittsburgh Press. He worked in sales in western Pennsylvania before relocating his family to Lititz in the 1960s.

In February 1969, Jerry was presented the opportunity to serve as the director of the Lititz Rec Center. He served in that role until 1988.

This announcement, which appeared in the Dec. 18, 1986 Lititz Record, records one of many times Kiralfy was honored for his service.

The Board of Directors of the new Lititz Community Center has pledged in excess of $15,000 to fund an office in the new building dedicated to Gerald Kiralfy, the present Rec Center director, “in honor of his service, time and talent.”

Portia Bowman, speaking for the nine-member board, said the new community center is a culmination of a dream for Kiralfy, and the board wanted to make the grand gesture demonstrating the community’s appreciation for his years of service.

“Jerry was always such a part of the recCenter,” said 1977 Warwick grad Stephanie Cramer, in a letter to the editor dated May 15, 2014. “He had a genuine interest in everyone who visited there. He enforced the rules and made sure that we were in a safe environment at all times. Thanks for making a difference in my life and so many other Lititz residents.”

One of Jerry’s many duties at the recCenter was to procure entertainment. He was responsible for bringing The Jordan Brothers, of Frackville, a local favorite act, back to the center time and time again.

Frank Jordan was saddened to hear of Kiralfy’s passing.

“Mr. Kiralfy was a wonderful man who would have done anything back in the day for the teenagers of that area,” Jordan said, adding that he just talked to Jerry a few months ago and enjoyed reminiscing about those great dances at the recCenter. “He was a great gentleman who wanted to do so much for the area, and he did. On behalf of my brothers, we are saddened by his death and we pray that he’s in good hands now. He will truly be missed.”

After leaving the Rec Center, Jerry worked for the Lancaster County Office of the Aging. He was very active at his church, Trinity Evangelical Congregational Church.

Jerry Kiralfy and his wife, Nancy, celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary on March 24. They are shown here dancing together on their 68th anniversary, in 2016.

Jerry Kiralfy and his wife, Nancy, celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary on March 24. They are shown here dancing together on their 68th anniversary, in 2016.

“Jerry made everyone he met feel incredibly valuable, which in turn, made him an extraordinary person to be around,” said Pastor Ryan Taylor, associate pastor of Trinity E.C.C. “He inspired people with his love and encouragement. Jerry Kiralfy was a gift from heaven and many, many people have been touched by his life.”

Jerry and Nancy have eight children, 18 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren.

 

Kiralfy’s full obituary follows.

Jerome “Jerry” A. Kiralfy Jr., of Manheim, went to be with the Lord on April 29, 2017.

Born in Pittsburgh in 1924, he was the son of the late Jerome A. and Nettie (Gilbert) Kiralfy. He enjoyed a full life.

From a young age, he helped his father supervise newspaper boys for the Pittsburgh Press. Immediately after the bombing at Pearl Harbor, Jerry marched into a recruiting office asking to serve his country and had to wait to graduate high school to enlist. He proudly served in the Navy, along with his sister, Jinnie. He was a patriotic soul through and through.

After the service, while home working for his dad, he met his “sweet” Nancy (Hull), the love of his life. In 1948, Jerry and Nancy were married and, as they say, the rest is history, and what a history it was.

LR20170504_obi Kiralfy Jerome

Jerry and Nancy were blessed with eight children: five sons, Jay (Maggie) of Lititz; Wray (Janet) of Bethany, Mo.; Floyd of Lititz; Bernie (Jeanne) of Wescosville; and Bob (Leanne) of Manheim; and three daughters: Donna Miller (Paul) of Richland; Kathy Weaver (Jeff) of Manheim; and Jinnie Townsend of Manheim. They also have 18 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.

Professionally, the consummate salesman, he spent years selling everything from peanut butter and insurance, to office products. In the mid-1960s, he moved his family from western Pennsylvania to Lititz.

In February 1969, Jerry was presented the opportunity to serve as the director of the Lititz Rec Center. He served in that role until 1988. Generations now remember him as the man that could be found at the center, day in and day out, making sure the community (young, old, rich, and poor) took advantage of all of the programs, including: basketball, dances, summer playground, and a host of other community activities. He was also very active in the Boy Scouts. After leaving the Rec Center, he worked for the Lancaster County Office of the Aging.

While his love of family, community and country were front and center in his life, Jerry was also active with his church family at Trinity Evangelical Congregational Church, serving a variety of roles over the years. Many will miss the personalized birthday and anniversary cards he made for members of the church every month. After leaving his post at the Rec Center, Jerry and Nancy moved to the Gretna Springs Community where they made fast friends with neighbors and have been active with community activities.

Jerry was preceded in death by his father, Jay, who left us much too soon; his dear mother, Nettie, who graced us with her presence for 108 years; and his beloved sister, Jinnie Blackington.

Services were held May 3 at Charles F. Snyder, Jr. Funeral Home and Crematory, Lititz. Interment followed at Trinity E.C. Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Trinity E.C. Church, 44 E. Orange St., Lititz, PA 17543; or the Moravian Manor Benevolence Fund at 300 W. Lemon St., Lititz, PA, 17543.

To send an online condolence, visit SnyderFuneralHome.com. Spacht-Snyder Family Funeral Home and Crematory, Lititz, had charge of the arrangements.

About mhunnefield

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *