Gerre Hancock, renowned organist and choirmaster, dies

Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs
Posted Jan 23, 2012

[St. Thomas Episcopal Church – New York] Dearly Beloved in Christ,

Dr. Gerre Edward Hancock, our distinguished and beloved Organist and Master of Choristers from 1971 to 2004, died peacefully this afternoon of cardiac arrest in the hospital in Austin, Texas. His wife Judith was with him; in fact Gerre died in her arms. Both their daughters, Deborah and Lisa, are with Judith in Austin.

Gerre’s body will be cremated, and a memorial Choral Requiem Eucharist for him will be celebrated at Saint Thomas at a time yet to be determined in the week of January 29 – February 4, with a reception following the liturgy. Dr. Hancock’s ashes will be interred beneath the floor of the chancel where our Choir Directors stand to lead the choir.

Gerre and Judith had visited Saint Thomas this past Christmas at the Midnight Mass. The last time I saw him was as he was singing, his eyes closed and looking up, “O come all ye faithful.” John Scott and I each received beautiful messages from Gerre shortly thereafter. May the soul of God’s devoted servant Gerre rest in peace, may light perpetual shine upon him, and may he rise with Christ in glory. We all hold Judith, Deborah and Lisa in our prayers at this time of their great loss.

Faithfully yours,
Andrew C. Mead, Rector

Additional details regarding Dr Hancock and the Choral Requiem Eucharist will be posted to this website in coming days.
Note: Near the end of Choral Evensong on January 22, the Choir sang an arrangement of Deep River by Gerre Hancock. You may listen to a webcast of the service by scrolling to the bottom of the calendar listing and clicking on the webcast link. Deep River is not listed in the printed leaflet as it was added to the service in tribute to Dr Hancock on Sunday.

Editor’s note: The New York chapter of the the American Guild of Organists offers more information here.