Jerry Zachary passed away suddenly on February 6, 2018, at the age of 72, leaving behind his lifetime partner of 27 years, Henry Bernstein.
Jerry and Henry met in 1990 on the outdoor volley ball court in Cabrini Park in the French Quarter and were inseparable for the next twenty-seven years.
Born in Homer, Louisiana, in Northern Louisiana, Jerry obtained a music degree from Louisiana Tech and a Masters Degree in media from Louisiana State University. Following his formal education, Jerry moved to Chicago and worked for Harris Bank and also became a professional singer with the Chicago Symphony Chorus. He subsequently became Assistant Choral Director to the legendary Margaret Hillis. Jerry had the pleasure of participating in concert performances at Carnegie Hall, as well as being an integral member of a Grammy Award winning chorus.
In 1980, Jerry moved to New Orleans, and instantly became a very active member of the French Quarter community. He was a member of Patio Planters, and he and Henry enjoyed opening their French Quarter backyard garden - in which Jerry worked so diligently and took such pride - to tours of French Quarter gardens. And he was an active member, and former board member, of Vieux Carre Property Owners and Associates.
However, Jerry’s main passion always has been music. After moving to New Orleans, Jerry continued with his choral performances and was a long time choral member in the New Orleans Symphony Chorus, and was one of the early singers in the New Orleans Vocal Arts Chorale. Jerry also was a devoted follower of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra as well as the New Orleans Opera, and served as a member of the Opera’s Board of Advisors.
And for many years, Jerry diligently attended as many musical events in New Orleans as possible - all in an effort to be an outstanding, informed, and objective judge for the annual Gambit Awards in classical music.
An avid theater goer, Jerry also performed in various local theater productions in New Orleans - his most memorable role being the part of Judge Turpin in Le Petit Theatre’s production of Sweeney Todd..
Although Jerry enjoyed performing himself, he equally enjoyed conducting other musicians. For many years, Jerry was the conductor of the student chorus at Our Lady of Holy Cross College. And he also served as choral conductor of the New Orleans Chapter of the Sweet Adelines.
However, Jerry’s main source of pride was his founding of the New Orleans Gay Men’s Chorus (his ”baby”) and for which he served as choral director for a number of years. He also was a volunteer in many local organizations including the NO/Aids Task Force, from which he received its Volunteer Service Award.
Jerry is also survived by his brothers John Zachary and his wife Jo Anne of Benton Arkansas, James Zachary and G. W. Zachary and his wife Betty, all of Homer, Louisiana.
A memorial service will be held Friday, February 16, 2018 at 10:00 AM at Temple Sinai, 6227 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, with a visitation beginning at 9:00 AM. Rabbi Edward Paul Cohn and Cantor Joel Colman will officiate.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be sent to the New Orleans Opera Association, 935 Gravier St., Suite 1940, New Orleans 70112, or the charity of your choice.
Condolences may be expressed online at www.tharpsontheimerfh.com. Tharp-Sontheimer-Tharp of Metairie is in charge of arrangements.