Gerald L. Bouton, age 83, passed away on January 13, 2012 after a brief stay at Bassett Medical Center, Cooperstown, NY.
Gerald (Jerry) was born to Anson S. and Zadie (Bolles) Bouton of Oneonta on July 29, 1928. He graduated from Oneonta High School and was a life-time resident of Oneonta. Jerry was predeceased by his wife of 52 years, Sylvia Alys McLaud, his brother Donald, and his cousin Bernice Thorpe. He is survived by his most-excellent sons Stephen and Thomas Bouton, daughter-in-law Janet Joseph, granddaughters Savannah, Lauren, Elena and Emily, and cousin John Thorpe. Jerry is also survived by sisters- and brothers-in-law James and Joyce Broe, Maurice McLaud, Morton and Dorothy McLaud, Pat Grasso, David and Barbara McLaud, Joan McLaud, and several nephews and nieces.
Early in life he lived on his parent's farm in Otego, worked as a lumberjack, an insurance salesman for Metropolitan Life, and a union mason. In the early 60s, he was a partner in Bouton Bros. Construction Co., and then continued on as Gerald Bouton Masonry Contractors until 1974. At the age of 46, Jerry left the construction business and, on a "shoestring" started Bouton's Fast Stop on Oneida St., Oneonta – a convenience store and retail beverage warehouse. As a result of the success of the Oneida St. store, he was able to open two additional stores, which he operated with his son Thomas until his retirement in 1995.
In his businesses and dealings within the community and with neighbors and colleagues, Jerry made lifelong friends and was truly a person who believed in the adage that "strangers are friends not yet met". He could be defined by his sense of compassion and humor, and willingness to listen and lend a hand whenever he was called upon. Jerry had great affection for the Oneonta area and his friends and family, and was truly content to remain there throughout his life – except for the unpleasant winters when he and his wife, along with friends traveled south to Florida, Arizona and Mexico in his motor home. Jerry was an avid golfer and longtime member of the Oneonta Country Club. He was a member of the Elks Club and the Society of Freemasons, and one of the founders of the Oneonta Archery Club.
Shortly after his retirement, Jerry spent most of the next ten years caring for his wife who had suffered a stroke. After Sylvia's death in 2004, he experienced the first of a number of medical setbacks, including congestive heart disease and then a degenerative spinal issue that left him unable to walk without assistance. However, in spite of his debilitating medical conditions, he remained engaged: a positive force to his family and friends, never complained, maintained and honed his sense of humor and wit, and continued to expand his knowledge of history, world events, and politics. He was a voracious reader throughout his life, which continued even as his eyesight was diminishing.
We know that wherever he is, though he may miss his family and friends, he is already making new friends and people smile. We love him and he will be sorely missed.
A funeral service will be held on Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 11:00 AM in the First United Presbyterian Church (Red Door) with the Rev. James Atwell, officiating. Burial will be in the Glenwood Cemetery, Oneonta.
Friends may call at the Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home, 14 Grand St., Oneonta on Tuesday, January 17, 2012 from 3 to 7 PM at which time the family will be in attendance. Oneonta Lodge #466 F&AM will conduct a Masonic service at 6:30 pm.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Catskill Area Hospice, 1 Birchwood Drive, Oneonta, NY 13820 or the Multiple Sclerosis Resources of Central NY., Inc., PO Box 237, East Syracuse, NY 13057
Arrangements under the direction of Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home, Oneonta, NY.