Erica “Ricki” Sommers Gero, 65, of Wynnewood, cofounder of a company that places legal advertising in newspapers, died Wednesday, Feb. 1, at Lankenau Medical Center after suffering a massive brain aneurysm.
Mrs. Gero grew up in Bala Cynwyd, graduated from Lower Merion High School, and earned a bachelor’s degree from George Washington University in 1968. Her father, Allen Sommers, founded one of the first public relations firms in Philadelphia.
In college, she met and married Bob Gero, who works in legal marketing.
Mrs. Gero was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002 and in 2004 was diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma (LMS), a rare and aggressive cancer. She recovered from two bouts of that cancer, and was a fund-raiser and advocate to raise awareness for LMS.
From 2004 until her death, she was a volunteer at Pennsylvania Hospital, “working with sarcoma physicians to collect tissue for LMS research,” her husband said.
In 1993, Mrs. Gero cofounded SK Advertising L.L.C., which publishes legal notices primarily in newspapers. She retired in 2005. For several years in the mid-1980s, she wrote a column for the Main Line Times newspaper, interviewing chefs on the Main Line.
“Ricki was a person who always wanted and needed more out of life,” longtime friend Richard J. Ferst said. “She always expressed herself clearly and honestly. She appreciated her friends and demanded the best from them. She was never shy, and you always knew how she felt about whatever the subject might have been. She was outspoken, confident, opinionated, and caring.”
Bob Gero said his wife was “very direct, very honest. You knew where you stood on her scorecard. Often, people closest to her and who knew her best would comment that she had no filter. She spent hours online, using all the social-media tools and regular e-mail, keeping up on her friends and their kids and family. She had circles of friends that I don’t know.”
After years as a homemaker, Mrs. Gero earned a master’s degree in education at Cabrini College in the early 1980s, and then was a substitute English teacher in Lower Merion public schools.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by daughters Carrie Pogust and Jessica Gero; her mother, Ruth Lehrer Sommers; a brother; and three grandchildren.
About 600 relatives and friends attended a memorial service Feb. 3 at Temple Adath Israel in Merion, her husband said.
Contributions in Mrs. Gero’s memory may be made to LMSarcoma Direct Research Foundation, Ricki Gero Research Fund, Box 52697, Tulsa, Okla. 74152, or to a charity of the donor’s choice.
By Linda Loyd, Inquirer Staff Writer