GERALD EMILE PITCHFORD
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GERALD EMILE PITCHFORD

Gerald Emile Pitchford, son of the late John and Inez Hunter Pitchford, passed away in his wife's embrace in Santa Fe, NM on February 18, 2021.
Gerald was the eighth of twelve children (four sisters, eight brothers), ten of whom lived into adulthood. The seven surviving boys all served in the US military. The children were all raised at the family residence on St. Charles Avenue, Natchez, MS, which has remained the same family residence since 1919.
Having been raised by a staunch Catholic family, Gerald graduated from the Cathedral School in 1953, at age 17. Gerald drew his compassion for his fellow human beings from his uncle, Monsignor Charles Hunter who was honored by the NAACP for activism in the Civil Rights Movement.
After graduation, when Gerald was unable to enlist in USMC in Natchez, due to filled quotas, he hitchhiked 90 miles to Monroe, LA, to take the USMC enlistment oath. The enlistment people knew they had an enthusiastic and fitting candidate and drove him all the way back to Natchez for his parents' consent, as he was underage. Upon signing and being sent to New Orleans, he was put in charge of several recruits, and they were sent to San Diego for basic training. Before his enlistment, Gerald had never traveled more than 20 miles outside of Natchez.
Early in his basic training, he and his siblings, 2nd Lt. John Pitchford, USAF, 2nd Lt. Charles Pitchford, USMC, Richard Pitchford, USMC Recruit Trainee, and Navy Seamen Tom and Frank Pitchford, were given emergency leave to attend the funeral of their father. Gerald always said that his four years in the Marines in San Diego, CA changed the course of his life and exposed him to different possibilities for his life's work.
Gerald, as well as all of his brothers, used the G.I. Bill to go to college. Gerald attended Louisiana Tech, majoring in Engineering before transferring to Ole Miss, where he changed his major to Accounting. After graduating, he was employed by Haskins-Sells in Houston, TX, and enrolled in the South Texas College of Law. He became one of a select number of professionals who hold both a CPA degree and a JD degree. He practiced law, and in his spare time helped manage his brother's bar in Houston.
In 1971, he accepted a position with the U.S. Defense Department Audit Agency. He agreed to go to Saigon, South Vietnam, partly motivated to find out information about his brother Jack who had been held prisoner by the North Vietnamese at the "Hanoi Hilton" since December, 1965. When Jack was released on February 12, 1973, Gerald was able to reunite with him on the following day at Clark AFB. Miraculously, half a century later in spiritual Santa Fe, Gerald met the young teenager who had worn Jack's POW bracelet and had prayed for seven years for his safe return.
Later, Gerald worked for USAID and had assignments in Central America. He coordinated biannual Parliamentary Congressional meetings between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. He served as staff consultant on the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives for eighteen years, with a specialty in twenty countries in Africa. Yara always kidded him that he had an "Indiana Jones" kind of job at this stage in his career.
Gerald is survived by his soulmate, his broken-hearted wife Yara, whom he married in the historic Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis in 1987. He is also survived by his brother, James Pitchford, and wife, Leigh; his sister, Judy Pitchford Bartley; and many beloved nieces and nephews. Yara wants to thank three magnificent angels who made Gerald's final journey as painless and peaceful as possible…Michele, Carmella, and Emma.
Gerald will be joining his large family, some dating back to the late 19th century, in the Natchez City Cemetery.
Burial will be at a future date on the Old Jewish Hill overlooking the magnificent Mississippi River.



To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Santa Fe New Mexican from Feb. 24 to Feb. 26, 2021.
Memories & Condolences
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18 entries
March 3, 2021
What a fine person. Yara- So sorry for the loss of Gerald.
Charlotte Roybal
Friend
March 2, 2021
Gerald was a very unique person. I always enjoyed talking with him. A very smart and witty person. He was a very integral part of a small group of "geezers " that I was privileged to be a small part of. When we all got together he didn't say a lot but when he spoke you listened. He will be sorely missed.
Yara, my very sincere condolences go out to you. As much as I will miss Gerald I can only imagine your loss. You are in my thoughts.
Gary Maner
Friend
February 27, 2021
Reading the tributes to Gerald strikes such a powerful cord of authenticity. For we have known him throughout all the years he and Yara have been together. It is so gratifying to know so many people whose lives he touched appreciate the greatness of the man - his soul, character, intelligence, wit, kindness. Most of all, we are moved beyond measure how many perceive the great love Gerald and Yara share. Of the many hearts that are breaking because of the loss of him amongst us, ours must be counted. Gerald will always be with us, and whenever we try to define what is good and wonderful, to our children, a friend we need only tell what we know about Gerald,
a man without equal.
Yara, we are desolate, but certain your and Gerald's love will get through the pain that overwhelms you now.
Grieving for him is but a fraction of the tribute her merits. With abiding love, Pat and Angel Colon
Pat and Angel Colon
Family
February 27, 2021
My thoughts are with you Yara. I am keeping you in my prayers. God Bless you during this terribly sad time. Gerry was a true Gem
With Heartfelt Sympathy.
Molly Hamilton
Molly Hamilton
Coworker
February 27, 2021
Yara,

Our hearts are broken for you, the love you and Gerald shared was inspiring and evident. We have missed seeing you both in church and wish we could hug and comfort you. We will be keeping Gerald and you in our prayers Sending you all our love.
Nicole, Sofia, India and Reyes
Friend
February 27, 2021
He was a wonderful, quite and funny man who had many stories to tell but only if you insisted
Dudley H Hafner
Friend
February 27, 2021
We will always remember Gerald as a soft spoken gentleman with a gentle soul and great supporter of Spanish Market. Descansa en Paz!
Floyd Lucero & Maria Padilla
Friend
February 26, 2021
Yara -- I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved soulmate. I remember with fondness our many IAIA events that we spent together. I am honored to have known him, and will keep you in my thoughts and prayers, Yara.

Janey Potts
Janey Potts
Friend
February 26, 2021
I only met Gerald once and am greatful for that opportunity. I do know he was a great guy and I know that his brother Jim was proud to be his brother. Our prayers go to Gerald and his family.
Annette Bielkiewicz
February 26, 2021
Yara what a wonderful tribute. He accomplished so much on his life..Proud he was my cousin..Patty Killelea-Willard
Patty Willard
Family
February 26, 2021
It was an honor to know him. He was such a fine gentleman.
You had the best.
Marjorie Johnson
February 26, 2021
Yara, I am so sorry you have lost your beloved Gerald. I send you my deepest sympathy. My thoughts are with you.
Nadine Stafford
Friend
February 26, 2021
I was deeply saddened to read that Gerald Pitchford had died. Gerald was one of the loveliest men I have ever met. His passing brought back wonderful memories of our early days in Santa Fe cross country skiing in Valle Grande, having dinners together and enjoying country blue grass on occasion. Gerald was a warm gracious man with a lively wit. My heart goes out to Yara. Eudice Daly
Eudice Daly
Friend
February 26, 2021
Yara, my heart goes out to you. I know how much you will miss him. Gerald was a prince among men and a good friend. I am glad that we were in touch last month.
Lindsey Grant
Friend
February 25, 2021
Gerald was a kind and generous southern gentleman. I'm honored to have known him and will miss his gentle spirit.
Monique Martin
Friend
February 25, 2021
I will really miss you Brother and grateful for the times we had together prior to and following your retirement. You were a True Big Brother and Brother-In-Law to Leigh. God Bless You Brother and we love You.









Jim Pitchford
Family
February 25, 2021
Gerald was one of the finest men I have ever known. He was a wonderful husband to Yara and wonderful friend. I will miss him terribly. His memory is truly a blessing.
Michael and Lena Keslin
Friend
February 24, 2021
Gerald was a kind and gentle person. Our hearts are broken with his passing. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Nancy and Frank Susman
Friend
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