‘I loved him like a brother’ says Chigwell man appealing to people who knew his Homerton friend

A photo taken of Gerry several years ago.

A photo taken of Gerry several years ago. - Credit: Courtesy of Maz Iqbal

A Chigwell man is appealing for people who knew his Homerton friend to attend his funeral and give him “dignified send-off”.

Gerald ‘Gerry’ Kaye, also known by his family’s original Jewish surname Katz, was reported dead in July from undetermined causes. He was 76 years old.

“He was very colourful, lived a great life - a bit of a rascal,” said Gerry’s friend Maz Iqbal.

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Maz found out about the 76-year-old’s passing some time later, after his calls and texts were no longer being answered.

He had known Gerry for about 35 years, and was aware he was estranged from his children who moved to the USA with his ex-wife when they were small.

Maz wants to make sure anyone who knew him has the chance to attend his funeral.

“I just want people who knew him to be there at the funeral with me,” Maz said. “I want people to be there remembering him. I don’t want him to go on his own.”

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Probate genealogists, known as heir hunters, have helped to track down Gerry’s daughter, but she is unable to attend her father’s funeral.

However, Maz has found three mutual friends who he says are “determined to give Gerry a dignified send off”.

Maz added: “I’m not going to let him have one of those unnamed graves or anything like that.”

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He would like to buy a headstone, “if his (Gerry’s) daughter does not object,” and is unsure why Gerry is being given a funeral under the Public Health Act 1984, as the Chigwell resident says his friend had money in his accounts and “was a successful guy” who owned businesses.

Maz told the Gazette about his friendship with atheist Gerry, which he says transcended religion and race: “I’m 21 years his junior, I’m a Muslim and he was born Jewish.

“It is a strange relationship but I loved him like a brother.”

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The pair met at a leather shop Maz owned in Hackney when he lived in the borough decades ago.

“He was a customer, (he) came in and bought a jacket from us, we got chatting and we remained friends for 35 years,” Maz added.

The date for Gerry’s funeral has not yet been set by the council.

Hackney Council has been contacted for comment.

Contact holly.chant@archant.co.uk if you knew Gerry.

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