The guy who introduced me to serious cycling and took me on my first rides some 30 years ago, Jerry Pagano, died last month in New Mexico.
Jerry took me to Nyack Bicycle Outfitters back in the early 1980s where Jim Skelley set me up with a Bianchi. I spent the next couple of years chasing him and occasionally some of his racing buddies around. I never caught them.
I lost touch with Jerry and was saddened to read his obituary, written by his brother Michael, also a member of the local cycling community. I have included it below in case some fellow riders might have missed it.
Jerry Pagano, 54, of Silver City, New Mexico passed away on September 30, 2009. Jerry was born in the Bronx, NY, raised in Tappan and lived for varying amounts of time in Iowa, Vermont, Florida, California and finally New Mexico. He completed an 8 year stint behind the wheel of a NYC Taxi before becoming an accomplished cabinet maker and carpenter; Jerry also wrote poetry and short stories during his college career at Rockland Community College and University of Iowa. Jerry’s passions included a love of the outdoor, eating, cooking, and eating some more but his greatest pleasure was when he was on the road riding his bicycle. In younger years Jerry competed for the Century Road Club of America and Onion River Sports. Of late he supported Silver City, NM bicycle races as a driver for race officials and VIPs in The Tour of the Gila and as a race marshal for both The Tour of the Gila and Signal Peak Challenge. He was a regular on the Nyack Rocket in the 80’s and 90’s and whenever in town to visit family; he extended his love of cycling to brother Michael who carries on the passion still. Jerry is predeceased by his father Michael and mother Tootsie. He is survived by his partner of 13 years Carolyn Smith and dog Satchmo both of Silver City, brothers Joe (Julie) of Grand Rapids, Michigan and Michael (Mary) of Stony Point, New York as well as his nieces and nephews; Nichole, Tyler, Taylor, Christopher and Katherine along with many aunts, uncles and cousins. A Memorial Service will be held in Silver City on October 31, 2009 at the Church of Harmony at 5 P.M. A memorial bike ride to honor Jerry’s life will take place Sunday morning, November 1, 2009 at 10 A.M.