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Dr. Gerald R. Rising

November 10, 2022

Visitation: No prior Visitation
Service: MONDAY: January 23rd, 2023 A Celebration of Life will be held from 1:30-3:30pm at the Tift Nature Perserve, 1200 Fuhrmann Blvd., Buffalo, NY RISING – Dr. Gerald R.
Passed December 9, 2022. Loving father of
Gerald R. Rising Jr. and Susan R. Kelch;
Cherished grandfather of Lindsey R. Kelch,
Jordan P. Kelch, Marshawn Yuhas,
Nicholas R. Rising and great grandfather of
Layla, Major, Jonas, Milena, Emma, Harper. Dr.
Rising was well-known in the Buffalo
area as an esteemed professor of
mathematics, a gifted writer and an avid
bird watcher. A Celebration of life will
be held on January 23rd, 2023 from
1:30 pm – 3:30 pm at the Tift Nature
Preserve 1200 Fuhrmann Boulevard,
Buffalo, NY 14203. Flowers gratefully
declined, memorials may be made in
Gerald’s name to the Buffalo
Ornithological Society, 1022 Humboldt
Pkwy, Buffalo, NY 14211 or the Gifted
Math Program, UB Foundation Inc.,
P.O. Box 730, Buffalo, NY 14226.
Online condolences may be shared at

The only thing that Dr. Gerald R. Rising loved more than observing nature was sharing that love with others.

One of the most renowned bird watchers in Western New York, the Williamsville man also loved hiking, camping and observing butterflies and all species of animals.

He was a longtime nature columnist for The Buffalo News who wrote about 10 books on nature and served as a mentor to many naturalists in the Buffalo area.

Known to friends as “Gerry,” he died after an illness on Dec. 9 in the Brothers of Mercy skilled nursing facility in Clarence. He was 95.

He loved “everything that had to do with nature” and especially enjoyed encouraging his kids, grandchildren and friends to do the same, said his daughter, Susan Kelch.

“Birds were his focus, but he was fascinated by anything to do with the outdoors,” Kelch said. “He climbed mountains, camped in the Adirondacks, took long hikes along all the Great Lakes and skied until he was 80.”

He also had a long career as a math teacher and professor, and was the co-founder and Director Emeritus of the Gifted Math program at the state University at Buffalo.

Dr. Rising even had a bird-watching thrill about two weeks before he died, when he spotted a gangly bird called the limpkin along Buffalo’s Outer Harbor.

“Gerry was really excited, because the limpkin is usually seen in Florida and almost never seen in this part of the country,” said Mike Galas, a fellow bird watcher and friend of Rising for four decades.

“Gerry was a wonderful mentor to other bird watchers and nature lovers,” Galas added. “When we would go bird watching, he would never turn down anyone who wanted to join us, no matter how old they were or how much experience they had.”

Born and educated in Rochester, Dr. Rising earned college degrees from the University of Rochester, the University of Notre Dame and New York University, where he earned a Ph.D.

He served in the Navy, reaching the rank of lieutenant.

His long career in education included teaching at several high schools in Western New York, the University of Minnesota, University of Connecticut, New York University, University of Rochester and finally at UB, where he taught math for 30 years before retiring in 1994.

He continued his involvement in math teaching after that, helping out at UB and writing about 10 books on the subject. He received many awards for his work in math education and was in the halls of fame of the New York State Mathematics Educators’ Association and the State Association of Mathematics Supervisors and Educators.

Starting in 1991, he spent about 25 years writing Nature Watch, a weekly column for The News.

“Protecting the environment was very important to Gerry,” said David O’Donnell, a longtime friend who raises butterflies in Clarence. “Gerry’s philosophy was that we’re all connected to nature, and we all need to do everything we can to take care of it.”

His daughter recalled a fun memory from her childhood.

“We were driving to a camping trip, somewhere in the middle of nowhere,” she said. “My dad spotted a rare bird while he was driving. He pulled off the road, got out with his binoculars and went out to look at it. If there was a special bird somewhere, he was going to stop and see it, no matter what.”

Dr. Rising was active at the Tifft Nature Preserve in Buffalo, the Buffalo Ornithological Society and the Buffalo Audubon Society.

His family invites friends to attend a Celebration of Life at 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 23 at the Tifft Nature Preserve.

Besides his daughter, he is survived by a son, Gerald Jr., four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

“His enthusiasm touched a lot of people in the Buffalo area,” O’Donnell observed. “Gerry was a man who died while living.”


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