Gary Reif, former President, CEO, and founder of GERS Retail Systems, has died after a six-year battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 57.
Gary was the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of GERS Retail Systems from 1983 to 1998. GERS, a leading software provider to the retail industry, was owned by General Electric when Gary led a management buyout of GERS in 1990 prior to selling controlling interest to a venture capital company in 1998 where he stayed on as Chairman until 2003. Gary had been associated with GERS since its incorporation in 1974 when he directed the development and design of GERS Retail Systems applications. Gary became Vice President of Development for GERS, Inc. in 1976 and was promoted to President and CEO in 1983. He was awarded the 1994 Entrepreneur of the Year award for the San Diego area because of his innovative methods in software development and business management.
Growing up in New York City, Gary moved to Southern California in 1969 after graduating from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. He continued his course work toward a master's degree at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Prior to his involvement with GERS, Gary was an aerospace engineer with McDonnell Douglas in Culver City, California. He left McDonnell Douglas to start his own business systems firm which was involved in commercial applications, including automation within the retail industry. Gary performed consulting work for Levitz Furniture from 1972 to 1976 and set up the national communications link for all Levitz stores.
Gary devoted a significant amount of time to a variety of civic activities. Over the last several years he served on the Board of the National Alzheimer's Association of San Diego and the University of California, San Diego, Institute for Research on Aging. He was a Founder and Board Member of the George Glenner Alzheimer Family Centers, which provide day care for patients and respite care for their families. He is also a member and prior chairman of the San Diego Chapter of Young Presidents' Organization.
Gary is survived by his wife Tracy, son Henry, and brother Richard Reif.
Memorials may be made to PanCAN, The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network at 2141 Rosecrans Avenue, Suite 7000, El Segundo, CA 90245.
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