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Juozas “Joe” Gecas

The Gecas Family lost our Patriarch Juozas “Joe” Gecas on July 12, 2022 – passing away at the age of 93.  He led a life that could be described as a “role model.”  Born in Taurage, Lithuania on January 27, 1929 – the third of four brothers – Juozas was taken by the German Army in 1944 as he was walking to his neighborhood Church to serve morning Mass.  The Germans used him to perform manual labor as they retreated during the Russian advance.  He ended up in Germany and was placed in a Displaced Persons camp.  His family did not know if he was dead or alive until the end of World War II – through a message from the Red Cross.  (The first time he was allowed to return to his homeland and see his family was in 1972.)

At the end of the War when the Allies freed the Displaced Persons Camps – he fortunately ended up on the Western side.  He joined the US Army in the late 1940’s and assisted the Allies during the European Reconstruction after the War.  It was through the US Army that he learned English and was given opportunities to learn and build a new life alone.  After migrating to Great Britain and eventually Toronto, Canada, Joe met his wife of 40+ years, Eugenija.  In Toronto, Raymond was born.  Following his dream of becoming an American – the small family eventually migrated to New York City, where the family was increased with the birth of Rita.  From there they eventually settled in a wonderful, small Lithuanian community in Dayton, Ohio.  In Dayton, the family grew by 2 with Vida and Irena.  Joe loved working with his hands, and worked as a master auto mechanic with Ford and eventually owned his own small garage business.  Joe and Eugenija relocated to St Pete Beach, Florida in 1993 and unfortunately Eugenija passed away way too early in 1996.  A few years later Joe met a wonderful lady named Aldona and they spent a great 20+ years together living in Florida with many friends they met through the American Lithuanian Club.

Always the handy man – Joe helped his family and numerous friends and neighbors with home and vehicle projects.  Young at heart and in great shape into his early 90’s, Joe loved to dive into swimming pools even at the age of 89.

His special times were however always spent with his family – his Holy Cross church family in Dayton, Ohio; his Lithuanian club family in St. Petersburg, Florida; and most importantly the Burdulis and Gecas families in the United States, Canada and Lithuania (Lietuva).   He was a proud Lithuanian-American with his heart always in both countries.  He appreciated the great opportunities provided to a young  immigrant from Lithuania by the U.S Army.

He is survived by a son, Raymond, St. Pete Beach; three daughters and their husbands, Rita and Roger, Vida and William, and Irena and Michael in KY, FL, and NY, respectively; and two grandchildren, Saulius and Julia and many relatives in Lithuania.

In lieu of flowers, charitable donations in memory of Joseph (Joe) Gecas because of his love for the Lithuanian culture are appreciated for the Lithuanian Foundation, Inc. [Please refer to their website for information regarding memorial contributions – Lithuanian Foundation, Inc. | Uniting the Generations | Lemont, Illinois, or contact them directly at 630-257-1616] or his love for military and law enforcement, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, Tunnel to Towers Foundation (

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  • Kathy Zarr says:

    Dear Irena and family, Our sincerest condolences on the passing of your father, father-in-law, and grandfather. He sounds like a tremendous and honorable man. Knowing how hard it is to lose your last parent, I feel your grief and hope you take relief in the memories all of you have had with him. Prayers for all of you for strength during this hard time. Best, Kathy & Karl Zarr

  • MaryAgnes Mikalauskas says:

    It is with deepest sadness we express our condolences on the passing of your family patriarch. Please accept our thoughts and prayers. Much love, George A. and Frances Mikalauskas, George II, Marian and Regina Mikalauskas, MaryAgnes Mikalauskas, Elena Mikalauskas and Joe. P. Mantz, Dayton, OH.

  • Mary Lee Mickevicius says:

    I met Joe shortly after my husband John died on a visit to Aldona. I came to Florida for a visit and was royally entertained by both of them.

    We had several days of good times, dancing and eating. Joe was always a gracious host. He made Aldona happy and that made me happy!!!! His beautiful sparkling blue eyes always gave away his dry sense of humour.

    The two of them had a good life together enjoying family and the community.
    They visited me in Toronto and again we were lucky to have had each other.

    May he rest in peace.
    A QUOTE “Do not mourn the absence of the flame, but celebrate how brightly it burned”
    Mary Lee Mickevicius and Bob Cwirenko

  • Helene Epstein says:

    Dear Irena and family:
    Your patriarch lived an extraordinary life filled with faith, family, and fortitude. I’ve observed your loving care for him and that of your family. I wish you strength and grace in this sad hour. May his memory be a blessing.
    All my best,

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