Cover photo for Gerald Laird's Obituary
Gerald Laird Profile Photo

Gerald Laird

August 12, 1933 — February 21, 2023

Gerald H. Laird, 89, of Lansing, KS passed away on February 21, 2023. He was born August 12, 1933, in Union City, PA, where he later met and married the love of his life, Shirley Platt.  The two were married on June 19,1954 and spent 68 years together.

Gerald attended Union City High School and got a bachelors from Gannon College. He obtained one masters degree from Johns Hopkins University and another from the University of Colorado Boulder.

He enlisted in the United States Air Force in September 1952 and served during the Korean conflict as a bomb technician on B-47 airplanes. He was a very proud veteran and was almost always seen wearing his Korean War Veteran hat.

He and Shirley moved around the United States before settling in Laurel, MD, where they raised their two children, Robin and Gerald.

Gerald later went to work as a telecommunications engineer at the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland where he worked until he retired in 1992 and moved to Palm Coast, FL.  While in Florida, he and Shirley were active members of the Palm Coast Lions Club where he served as President. They were also active members of the Palm Coast United Methodist Church.

He and Shirley spent 25 years retired together in Florida before moving to Lansing, KS, with their daughter Robin and spending the summer months between Grasonville, Maryland & Chincoteague, VA with their son, Gerald and family..

During his life, he and Shirley traveled the world together with family and friends. In his spare time, Gerald could be found trying to lower his handicap on the golf course, playing a game of pool, ping pong or darts, or trying to win money in a weekly poker game.

He took pride in teaching things to his children and grandchildren, even the time his son used a garden hose and played the role of gas station attendant with the family’s T-Bird.

Gerald was very proud of his family and supported them with all of his soul. He always let them know how proud he was of their accomplishments.

There wasn’t a newspaper he wouldn’t read, even if it was being used as a table cover for a crab feast. He carried quarters with him on vacation to purchase USA Today each day. He would tell anyone who would listen about a story he read in the paper and would sometimes exclaim, “Can you believe that!”

To his family he was affectionally known as G-Pa, Florida Papa, grandpa, dad, and Uncle Gerald. Gerald was recognized by his family as their version of the American success story. He had goals and dreams and worked and studied hard for them. He was proud, selfless, gracious, humble, content, wise, loving, caring, and understanding. He was always quick to ask if anyone needed help and then offer to find someone for the help. If someone gave him a hard time he would tell them they better watch their phraseology. He loved to say, “Bring it up again and we’ll vote on it.” He enjoyed playing games with friends and family and was often heard saying, “I love this game” if he won and, “The scorekeeper cheated” if he lost. He almost always had a joke to tell and sometimes told the same joke multiple times.

Gerald was preceded in death by his parents, brother Wilmer Laird, brother-in-law Ed Doutt and great-granddaughter Charlie Maglio. He is survived by his wife Shirley of Lansing, KS; sister Thelma Doutt of Burnell, FL; daughter Robin Hafen of Lansing, KS; and son Gerald Laird Sr. (Irene) of Grasonville, MD; three grandchildren, Jeremiah Waters (Heather) of Lansing, KS; Gerald Laird Jr. (Andrea) of Chester, MD; and Valerie Maglio (Tyler) of Chester, MD; seven great-grandchildren, Brady, Eli and Mackenzie Waters; Caleb and Colby Laird; Ezra and Christopher Maglio; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins.

The family is planning celebrations of life at later dates. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to Believe in Tomorrow children’s foundation or Charm City Trykers.

Believe In Tomorrow provides hospital and respite housing services to critically ill children and their families.  Visit to donate.

Charm City Trykers provides adaptive equipment to children with disabilities in an effort to inspire mobility and independence.  Charm City Trykers is currently building a bike for Gerald’s great-grandchild Ezra. Send donations via PayPal @cctjuliep (Charm City Trykers, Inc) or mail a check to Charm City Trykers, Inc at 63 Cedar Chip Court Parkville, MD, 21234.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gerald Laird, please visit our flower store.


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