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Gerry Bertier #42

(Biography provided by Gerry’s sister, Becky)       

Gerry Bertier was born August 20, 1953 and was raised in Alexandria, Virginia.  Gerry was raised mostly by his mother and was a very happy child.  Mrs. Bertier watched her son grow up to be a happy and successful young man.

During Gerry’s childhood he had mentioned being in the Olympics. His long-term goal was to receive a gold medal.

Gerry aged and entered into his high school years, eventually ending up at TC Williams High School as part of the desegregation of 3 schools. I doubt if Gerry had any idea of what great things he was about to enter into, nor do I believe he had any idea of how his athletic participation would place such an impact for Alexandria history.  Hammond High School was the school he previously attended and they were quite excited to having him on the team.

While at TC Williams high, he quickly got into the football team and things were quite rough from the beginning, but through the struggle and cooperation of his fellow teammates, made it through a “perfect” no loss season.  It was quoted in the Richmond News Leader, Dec 1971 issue that as a linebacker, “Gerry threw opposing backs for 432 yards in losses – 52 yards more than were gained net against the state champions” “Bertier was credited with 142 individual tackles, including dumping opposing quarterbacks 42 times.” He was named “Among top 100” and was selected by Coach and Athlete Magazines as one of the top 100 high school football players in the nation. 

To clear up any misconceptions that the movie might have left in the viewers’ minds, Gerry did not have his football success come to an end until after the state championships.  The night of the banquet dinner, Gerry was awarded the “Defensive Award in Football”. That fateful night after the banquet dinner, on his way home, he and the new 1971 Camaro ended up in a terrible accident.  Cause of the accident was later deemed to be a mechanical failure in the motor mount of his engine. 

Gerry had many offers from quite a bit of the major colleges including Notre Dame. Even after his accident, Gerry never gave up and continued his successes until his fateful death on March 20, 1981.  In his adult years, Gerry is known for many different and wonderful things that include winning a Gold medal in the wheelchair Olympics in the “Shot-put” event.  His adult years were spent helping the handicap to obtain easier access to the world and competing in the Olympics.  Loving friends and family always surrounded him.  He was a very considerate and kind person whose personality still shines 30 years later.

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