Deacon Gerald “Jerry” Kotas passed away on March 18, 2017 at the age of 66. Deacon Jerry ministered to the faithful in the foothills parish in Aspen Park Colorado at Our Lady of the Pines throughout his ordained ministry.
Born Gerald Frank Kotas in Cleveland, Ohio, to Jerry and Lillian, he came into the world on September 17, 1950 and was baptized at Epiphany Parish a few weeks later. After completing high school at St. Ignatius High in Cleveland, he was accepted into Notre Dame University where he completed a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geology in 1972. During his time in high school he would help tutor students in the inner-city and played clarinet in the intercity orchestra and in the marching band.
During his sophomore year at Notre Dame, Jerry met Debra Lynne Chicos, a student at the nearby St Mary’s College. After dating through their college years, they were married on the 10th of June, 1972 at Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the Notre Dame campus. After the wedding, he enrolled at the University of Texas in Austin where he graduated with a double Master’s Degree in Geology and Community and Regional Planning. God blessed their Marriage with three children; Jason, Cara and Zachary and 4 grandchildren.
In 1974, Jerry took a job with the State of Ohio, Department of Natural Resources and later to Ann Arbor, MI. Then in 1978, he took a federal job working for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Alexandria, VA. From there, the family moved to Evergreen, Colorado where Jerry worked in the Denver offices of the EPA.
On June 14th, 2003, Deacon Jerry was ordained in the Basilica Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception by Bishop Jose Gomez and immediately assigned to Our Lady of the Pines parish in Aspen Park. He was very active in Prison ministry and ministering to the homeless at the Samaritan Shelter.
Deacon Jerry had a special love for environmental stewardship and would work with the local community on the Church’s teaching related to God’s creation. “Deacon Jerry was a true servant of God.” stated Deacon Joseph Donohoe, Director of Deacon Personnel. “He took on his ministerial responsibilities because he loved God and loved the people he was sent to serve.”
A Vigil for Deacon Jerry will be held at Our Lady of the Pines in Aspen Park on the 24rd of March 2017 at 7:00 pm. The Funeral Mass was also at Our Lady of the Pines at 10:00 am on the 25th of March 2017. He was laid to rest at Mt. Olivet Catholic Cemetery in Golden, CO. In lieu of flowers he requested that donations be sent to Catholic Relief Services in his name.