For nearly 60 years, the Honorable Joseph Gerace has led a public service career that spanned across Chautauqua County and New York State. He has inspired generations of lawyers, attorneys and community members through his volunteerism, leadership and dedication to helping others.

In honor of his 90th birthday, the Jamestown Bar Association established a fund at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation to ensure the legacy of Judge Gerace remains a part of the Chautauqua region, forever. The Honorable Joseph Gerace/Robert H. Jackson Lectureship Fund will provide assistance to the Robert H. Jackson Center for costs relative to an annual distinguished lectureship program on current issues of law. A public reception to celebrate Judge Gerace’s birthday was be held March 7 at 4:30 p.m. at the Robert H. Jackson Center.

Admitted to the New York State Bar in 1952, Judge Gerace spent 23 years in private law practice specializing in civil and criminal trials. He was elected Supervisor of the Town of Busti in 1957 and was elected Chautauqua County’s first County Executive in 1974. During his nine-year administration, he was instrumental in creating the sewer districts along Chautauqua Lake. In 1983, Governor Mario Cuomo appointed Judge Gerace to the cabinet post of Commissioner of Agriculture and Marketing. In 1991, Judge Gerace was elected to the New York State Supreme Court, where he served until he reached its mandatory retirement age in 2003. Today, Judge Gerace serves the court system as a Judicial Hearing Officer.

As a private citizen, Judge Gerace has volunteered with numerous local organizations, most notably the Chautauqua Lake Rowing Association, Robert H. Jackson Center, Lakewood Volunteer Fire Company, Lakewood Memorial Library and Dragon Boat Festival. He is the recipient of the Robert H. Jackson 33° Award for Community Service; Jamestown Bar Association Award for Outstanding Community Service, and Chautauqua Region Community Foundation’s John D. Hamilton Award for Community Service.

For more information on this fund, or to make a tax-deductible donation, contact the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation at 661-3390 or visit