Capt. Gerard Petroni Ship Tribute
The following amazing videos were taken by Capt. Andrew Entamitas and Part 2 was taken by Capt. Doug Olsson while in Gatun Locks with fellow American pilots Capt. Tony Tiblier, Capt. Don Kat, Capt. Andrew Efthimiadis and Capt. Robins.

All of these American Panama Canal Pilots were on loaded PanaMax ships, on the week of March 8, 2010, going NorthBound in the Gatun locks, the townsite where both the Petroni and Tiblier family lived.

It is a wonderful and moving clip showing the close Zonian family lifestyle and workman’s camaraderie of those who lived and still live their life in the Canal Zone by the Panama Canal. Both of these wonderful videos were shown on the two movie screens at the Neptune Baptist Church during Capt Gerard’s memorial service. These videos were one of the highlights that day, and they really captured a feeling of genuine friendship.

A Big thanks goes out to Capt Efthimiadis and Capt. Olsson for filming these wonderful and timeless videos.

I saw a tribute like this with my own eyes at Gatun one day for the wonderful Gatun Lock Master Mr. Thompson who had passed, but to now have something like this on video for everyone to see and hear a unique side to Panama Canal and Pilots, that they may have known nothing about, is so special and rare.

Also, thank you to all of the Americans who made the great Canal Zone possible for all of us, and the hundreds of Amazing Panama Canal Pilots both before and ones that Dad was friends and worked with from 1977 to 2000. These years were the highlight of his time with Pilots, Masters and Ships.

Like Andrew so eloquently speaks of…, when we Cross the Bar and take that launch to Paraiso and move home to our real Master, may we all find each other again that glorious day.

Thank you from all of us for letting us have Dad’s that we are so proud of, and, Dad’s that gave us Paradise to grow up in. Thank you Panama Canal Pilots.

Always most respectfully yours, Erik and all of the Petroni family.

How Great Thou Art

This video is a memorial tribute to Capt Gerard Petroni who passed away from his final Stroke and Brain Bleed on December 31, 2009. The video was shown at the Neptune Baptist Church in Neptune Beach Florida on the movie screens. The song and images tell a wonderful story of what lies ahead – on the other side. Capt Petroni and his wife Reidunn begin the singing in the video that was filmed 2 years and 10 months after Gerard’s massive brain bleed. Gerard went from not being able to eat, speak, write or walk -but with constant hard work and training, he was able to sing (as seen here) and singing and speaking to thousands of Middle and High School students, inspiring all who saw and heard him. Capt Petroni inspired the Never Quit Tour and Challenge Series that takes place every year in Jacksonville Beach the beginning of June. Gerard’s son Erik and daughter Karina speak to Middle and High School students on the importance of Living a Clean Healthy Life, Honoring Your Parents and how we as sons and daughters can help our parents on a new course to avoid Strokes and Brain bleeds. Learn more about the Never Quit and the Never Quit Tour at:

Capt. Gerard Petroni video collage

Here is a video you may enjoy. After all of what we have learned, our hope is that parents can be there for their families and not have it end short due to High Blood Pressure / Hypertension.

Enjoy the beautiful guitar music of America the Beautiful while watching a series of video collages of Capt. Gerard Petroni’s life.

Gerard went home to his Father on December 31, 2009 after his last brain bleed that occurred on Dec 25th.

This video was shown during Gerard’s memorial service at the Neptune Baptist Church on March 3, 2010



IF, by Rudyard Kipling

Capt. Jerry Petroni recites his favorite poem “IF” by Rudyard Kipling at the Ponte Vedra High School in March, 2009. A very moving video from a man who could not eat, speak, write or talk only a year and a half before this was filmed. He recites the poem by heart, even with all of his brain damage, the words are on the screen behind him so the students can follow along. Students join in on the 3rd and 4th verse.

Afterward, a student then asks Dad “What does it mean to Never Quit?” Gerard’s answer impresses both the students and his kids. It was a very moving presentation.

Gerard suffered one more stroke on Dec 19th 2009 and a massive brain bleed on December 25th. He passed away on Dec 31, 2009. He is deeply missed by all who knew him.

Capt Petroni inspired the Never Quit Tour and Beach Festival that takes place every year in Jacksonville Beach in the month of May.  Gerard’s daughter Karina and son Erik speak to Middle and High school students on the importance of living a clean healthy life, honoring your parents and how we as sons and daughters can help our parents on a new course to avoid strokes and brain bleeds.


On December 31, 2009, the family stood around our fathers bed, watching our best friend, mom’s husband and our father, taking his last breaths. We wondered about life. We knew Pappa “Jerry” would be in Paradise soon, but really, all we could think about was the Dad right there in front of us. We were talking to him as his eyes drifted from one of us to the other. We kept telling him we loved him so much, thanking him over and over for being our father and husband. “Pappa, you will be with Jesus so soon, and soon we will all be together again.

As we wet his lips, and kept oxygen by his mouth to help him breath, the powerful man, our best friend, mom’s husband and our father would soon leave us.

When we looked at Dad, that fighting spirit that was in his eyes, all the way up to that last breath, let us know Pappa was still with us. And.. at that very second, when it ended, at that very instant, that spark, that twinkle, that fighting spirit in his eyes was instantly gone. Instantly!

The angel that had stood over his bed took him home to the Father of all creation, over a glistening sea, a starry night and a full moon.

As Dad lay there, my wonderful sister Sonya, who has so much hope, ran and brought in her little laptop and as we sat next to Dad, she showed us a video similar to this one which we had never seen before. Even though our tears were flowing, we were filled with wonderful peace, peace that our human life is so short and God’s plan is So Big.

We miss Dad so much. Our Buddy. But.. we will see him soon. Life goes by fast you know.

Dad, with all the great things he did on this earth, did not take one thing with him. He left his body behind, he did not even take a lung full of air, he just took his spirit. Or, his spirit took him, home to have a new body that would never pass away.

We made this video with new images for Dad’s memorial on March 13th so it could be played up on the big screen. We hope you enjoy it and can share it with others. It really is just a tiny idea of the joy that is on the other side.

Dad and Mom inspired us to give life our best. It led to a video called “Never Quit” that led to speaking at High Schools on Living a Clean Healthy Life, Honoring our parents, and how we as sons and daughters can help our parents (and ourselves) avoid Strokes and Brain bleeds. It then led to the Never Quit Beach Fest.

Join us there, every April in Jacksonville Beach. Learn all about the event, Dad and so so much more at:

Hope to see you there.

With love, Erik