Gerald P. (Gerry) Balcar, a seminal promotor of retro-reflective pavement markings, and Charmain and CEO of Olin Frederick Publishing, Inc. died from cancer and its complications on January 10, 2021 in Hilliard, FL His domestic partner, Amarae (Amie) Brockway-Henson, was consistently by his side and, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, helped his children visit remotely numerous times prior to his death.
Born on July 2, 1932 in Elizabeth, NJ to the late Frederick R. Balcar and Genevieve Pierce Balcar, Gerry grew up in Stamford CT.
Upon graduating from Cornell University in 1954, Gerry pursued a career in marketing through the 1950’s and 60’s, training professionally on Madison Avenue with a specialty firm early involved in the use of computers. In 1965, he joined Potters industries, based in Carlstadt NJ, the world leader in producing glass beads from recycled glass for reflectorizing highway markings and for metallurgical and other industrial applications. His research and marketing work with this multi-national company allowed him to travel widely and collaborate with colleagues in ten countries and diverse cultures. Most significantly while at Potter, Gerry developed a scientific method for testing the efficacy of reflective striping on rural roads. As a result, Gerry was invited by the Committee on Public Works of the US House of Representatives, where his research and testimony contributed to the passing of the Highway Safety Act of 1973, saving countless lives every year.
In retirement, Gerry continued to work with recycled glass. He founded a company and developed a process to capture toxic waste in glass, rendering it inert—an idea that was well before its time. He then co-founded Olin Frederick Publishing, Inc., challenging the status quo thinking of selected social and political issues worldwide, such as single-payer, universal health care, and most recently in collaboration with co-founder Bo Elfving, a reprioritization on how to improve global road safety, particularly in low and middle-income countries.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Margaret Gwynne in 2008. Left to cherish his memory are his partner, Amie Brockway-Henson of Margaretville, NY, and Yulee, FL, and his adult children: Elizabeth Balcar (Jerry Teplitz) of Virginia Beach, VA; Peter Balcar of New York, NY, and Joanne Murdock (Brian Wiprud) of Edgewater, NJ. He is also survived by his former wife and mother of his children, Carol Pierce of Bloomington, IN, as well as his four-legged family members: Amigo and Pancho Double-Dog, and his beloved marmalade cat, Chartwell.
A virtual memorial service will be held at a date and time to be announced.
Gerry was an active member of New Vision Congregational United Church of Christ in Yulee, FL. A fan of the performing arts and arts education, he served on the Board of Trustees of Foundation for The Open Eye, Inc., a not-for-profit theater company in Margaretville, NY. He was also a life-long lover of animals. Friends may make memorial contribution to New Vision Congregational UCC (www.nvcucc.org), Foundation for The Open Eye, Inc. www.theopeneyetheater.org, the ASPCA http://secure.aspca.org/donate/memorial, or your favorite no-kill animal shelter or animal rescue organization.
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