Obituary: Gerald Ries

Gerald Ries
Gerald Ries
Provided Photo

November 15, 1928 – November 1, 2022

Few people have ever been as quick to smile as Dr. Gerald Ries, after a long and full life at the age of 93. Son of Ed and Louise Ries; husband to Mary; brother of Joann Miller; father of Cindy, Nancy, Maureen, Joan, Joe, Jim, Jerry, Paul, and Patty; and grandpa to too many grandchildren (and great grandchildren) to name individually, Dr. Ries was born Nov. 15, 1928.
A homegrown Omahan, graduate of Central High School and Creighton University, Jerry grew from modest beginnings to become a beacon of generosity and faith in the community while doing it all with his signature jovial outlook on life.
He could entice a grin out of a rattlesnake even though most of the time it was patients, people down on their luck, or members of his sprawling family that couldn’t be glib when subjected to Dr. Ries’ jokes, dancing, and general cheerfulness.
What started as family ski trips to Colorado quickly evolved into much more as Mary and Jerry purchased a vacation home in the Roaring Fork Valley for 40 years that hosted countless friends and family. Many of their children developed an affinity for the area, relocating to the mountains to plant roots, retire or raise children in the community.
While not the only person to feel happier just by being in his presence, no one could make his wife Mary smile more than him. The two were married on June 13, 1953, and were inseparable up until Mary’s death in 2018, traveling the world, meeting a pope, and playing cards with countless friends and family. During their six-plus decades of marriage, they raised their children to be valuable members of society across the United States.
From Colorado to the Pacific Northwest, down to Los Angeles and of course back in Nebraska, the impact of their offspring has been felt in many cities and clinical offices. Whether a social worker, nurse, teacher, physical therapist, occupational therapist, doctor, or dietician, the Ries children followed in their father’s footsteps of helping people. His dedication to the medical field, the church, and volunteer work instilled a keen sense of generosity.
If a grandchild hit a couple good shots with one of his clubs, he’d encourage them to put it in their golf bag. If you were stuck in a rainstorm and needed a lift, he’d pull over, give you a ride and probably more. Whatever you needed, he gave willingly and without hesitation.
And he did it all with a smile and a twinkle in his step. Even in his final days, he could crack a one-liner and get at least himself to chuckle. Those who knew him can still hear his, “Oh Jerry!” followed by a belly laugh when he’d scratch on the 8-ball, see him Russian dancing at weddings, and parrot his timeless smile.
Rest in peace, Jerry. We know you and Mary will have the big band humming and the dance floor hopping in Heaven.

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