Gerald Louis Cantey, of Cincinnati, Ohio passed away on Friday, May 22, 2020, at the age of 55. Born January 27, 1965, in Columbia, SC, he was the son of the late James Theodore and Essie Titus Cantey. Gerald was the middle child of five siblings.
Gerald was a 1983 graduate of Eau Claire High School in Columbia, SC. He was the favorite of many of his teachers and fellow students because of his quick wit and was often mistaken as a teacher because he looked like an adult. In 1988, Gerald graduated from the University of South Carolina (USC) with a degree in Chemical Engineering.
Prior to graduation from USC, he secured a position at Eastman Kodak, not far from his hometown. While working at Eastman Kodak, Gerald spent time with family and friends and learned the ways of the corporate world. After landing his first job, his love affair with purchasing fast cars began with the purchase of a 1988 Toyota Supra. After two years at Eastman, he was ready to move on to better opportunities away from home, when he was offered and accepted a position at The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) in Cincinnati, OH. Gerald began his distinguished career with P&G on June 1, 1990.
Over the years Gerald has worked on many projects at P&G in Research and Development (R&D); Ivory soap, Cover Girl/Max Factor, Pringles, Gillette Men’s Grooming, and Olay, to name a few. In 2002, the Wall Street Journal prominently featured Gerald in an article about P&G’s Cover Girl Outlast lipstick. He was always proud of his work on this project. He moved back and forth between Cincinnati and Baltimore, MD, throughout the course of his career before finally making Cincinnati his home in 2007. That year was also memorable because he married the love of his life, Nicole Brice.
Gerald was more of a friend than a coworker to many who worked with him. His door was always open to anyone who needed him. At P&G, he was an active member of the R&D Black Leadership Team (BLT). This was so fitting for the man he was, as he worked as a relentless advocate for equality, diversity, and mentorship. He even traveled back to USC, his alma mater, to recruit African American engineering students for P&G. Gerald believed strongly in diversity and inclusion and he was recognized in 2014 with the CTO Inclusion Award and in 2019 with the African Ancestry Research and Development (AARD) Guiding Light Mentor Award. The CTO Inclusion Award recognizes individuals “who have demonstrated leadership and championed the principles and beliefs of Diversity & Inclusion.”
The Guiding Light Award is a mentor award “which celebrates an individual or group at any level that has clearly led to the growth and development for the individual(s) within the African Ancestry R&D Community and recognizes managers, mentors, or coaches who have demonstrated effective coaching, counseling, and facilitated networking for the African American individual.”
Gerald was able to see the world through his work travels with P&G. He has been to almost all the corners of the world, from Japan to Nigeria, and most recently New Zealand. While working and traveling, he made new friends and absorbed the sights, food, and the culture of each country with zest.
Early on in life, Gerald showed an affinity for problem solving and developed a love of Mathematics. This spilled over to him becoming a math teacher in his spare time. He became an adjunct faculty member at Sojourner-Douglass College in Baltimore, MD, teaching College Algebra once a week in the evenings for ten years. He really enjoyed teaching and often added questions about his favorite show, Sanford and Son, for extra credit on his tests. What he enjoyed most about teaching was building confidence in his students around Mathematics and how it is incorporated in everyday life.
Gerald was an amazing father and husband. He absolutely loved being a father and took a lot of pride in fatherhood. Gerald and his son, Julian, enjoyed playing with trains, riding roller coasters, building Legos sets, and making marble races on the stairs. They both share a love of building, creating things, and problem solving. As a family, the Cantey’s did an enormous amount of traveling and Julian looks forward to getting even more stamps on his passport. As a husband, Gerald was always loving and supportive. He was more than just a loving husband but a friend.
Gerald is survived by his wife Nicole Brice Cantey and son Julian Titus Cantey of Cincinnati, OH; brother James Cantey, Jr., sisters Essie Cantey James, Susan (John) Blanding, and Elizabeth Cantey, all of Columbia, SC; uncle Tommie (Theodora) Titus, of Bluffton, SC; aunts Sara Titus of Columbia, SC and Daisy Titus of Charlotte, NC; nephew Joseph James of Blacksburg, VA; nieces Danielle Cantey of Washington, DC and Sarah Cantey James of Columbia, SC; and a host of other family members, friends, and coworkers that will miss him dearly.