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Gerald P. Dyck

Born: Tue., Apr. 4, 1939
Died: Tue., Jul. 23, 2019

Memorial Service

3:00 PM Sun., Sep. 22, 2019
Location: Pilgrim United Church of Christ

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Music by The Piano Brothers


ASSONET- Gerald Paul Dyck, age 80, of Assonet, died peacefully in his home Tuesday, July 23, 2019. Born April 4,1939, in Newton, Kansas, Gerald  was the son of the late Walter Henry Dyck and the late Agnes Schmidt, and step son of the late Martha (Suderman) Dyck. He was husband to Helga Edvardsen Dyck to whom he was married for 29 years. 

Gerald spent most of his life devoted to studying, performing, conducting, composing, or teaching music. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Bethel College in Newton, Kansas, and a Master’s Degree in sacred music from Union Theological Seminary in New York City.  He was the Director of the Greater New Bedford Choral Society for 44 years, a position which brought him much joy. During his tenure he composed many choral works performed by the group for which he received many accolades. He was organist and choir director for various area churches throughout his life, and a music teacher in the Dartmouth schools for 35 years.  Gerry spent several years in missionary service in Chiang Mai, Thailand in the 1960’s on a cooperative farm where he taught English and music. There he developed a passion for Northern Thai culture and “Lanna” music. He contributed extensive research, by way of field recordings of local musicians and photographic documentation of how instruments were made, to the Thai community. His recordings have been archived at UCLA, Indiana University, as well as at Payap University, Chiang Mai, Thailand. Gerald also studied at the Orff Institute in Salzburg, Austria, and taught music at Bluffton College in Ohio before settling in the Dartmouth area. 

Gerry’s other passion was astronomy. He was an avid amateur astronomer, builder of his own telescopes and observatories, and member of the AAVSO, where over the course of 3 decades, he contributed over 150,000 variable star observations, some of which were used by NASA. In 2012 Gerry was awarded the 43rd AAVSO Merit Award. 

In the 1990’s, Gerald developed a fascination with Wales on a trip to England and decided to learn Welsh. In 1997, Gerald was awarded Welsh Poems-Learner of the year, and in 1998 he was awarded for his winning musical entries in the Drych Eisteddfod-Post.

In addition to his wife, Gerald is survived by his four daughters: Ilse Dyck, Heidi Dyck, Laura (Dyck) Eckert, her husband Jamie Eckert, and children Benjamin and Samuel; Kirsten (Dyck) O’Dell, her husband Mark O’Dell and children Cameron and Amanda; three stepsons: Rick Magrath, his wife Debra and sons Nathan and Ian;  Aaron Magrath, his wife Leah and children Trevor and Alyssa; Gunnar Magrath and his son Matthew. He was preceded in death by former wife Edith (Fagerbourg) Dyck and was the brother of the late Gordon Dyck, the late Charles Suderman, Evelyn Bertsche and Dolores Bartel and brother-in-law to John Bertsche and Marvin Bartel. Gerry is also lovingly remembered by his many friends, choristers, musicians, students, and fellow stargazers.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, September 22, 2019 at 3:00 pm at Pilgrim United Church of Christ, 635 Purchase St., New Bedford, MA 02740. Reception to follow.  Donations may be made in his memory to the Greater New Bedford Choral Society at GNBCS.org, or to the Humane Society & Shelter SouthCoast.


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