August 28, 1922 – October 12, 2002
Gerald Warren Tatro always believed in pushing the limits of what one could do. In his twenties, he stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, taking part in what would become one of the most important and successful Allied battles in World War II. He was in continuous combat for two months. He would later be severely wounded near Paris. A shell exploded directly behind him when he, along with four other men, attempted to clear a hill of snipers that were firing upon his company. Left for dead, he was chanced upon by a patrol and carried to a field hospital. He lost one lung, and much of his second.
These injuries did not stop Gerald. He applied the very same drive exhibited in his military career to his professional career. He put in many hours working as a logger, and it was likely through this experience that he envisioned using heavy equipment to blaze ski trails. His first purchase was a bulldozer, in 1956. He used it for the construction of a ski trail at Smuggler’s Notch Resort in Jeffersonville, Vermont. He would become the first atop Sterling Mountain in a bulldozer. From these humble beginnings, G.W. Tatro Construction was born.
Gerald “didn’t want to just build roads,” his son, Greg, would later say. “He wanted to do everything… he liked the challenge of moving the earth.” He was driven by that challenge. The traits that G.W. Tatro prides itself on to this day are largely a reflection of Gerald’s character: a strong work ethic, a no-nonsense attitude, and a sense of family. Over time, he gathered an ambitious and highly skilled team about him to tackle an increasing variety of jobs. In 45 years, G.W. Tatro Construction would grow from a crew of just himself to over 40 employees by the time of his death. He loved to work on the mountain- whether it be snowmaking or trail construction- but he pushed the boundaries of what a heavy civil construction company could do time and time again. Like himself, the company would come to pride itself on doing what others considered to be too difficult. He worked in states from Maine to North Carolina and was proud to take on daunting tasks. He was involved in and oversaw all aspects of the company, and wasn’t beyond working in the dirt with his men. In fact, he loved it. To this day, people still say that Gerald was the most skilled bulldozer operator that they’d ever seen.
Those that remember Gerald say that he always gave those around him an opportunity to succeed. He rarely lost patience or his calm. His word was a contract. He loved long drives- he would drive with family or friends everywhere. He couldn’t resist going to a local auction: he was known to spend hours, (endless hours, by the recollection of some who accompanied him) there. Harkening back to his logging days in the forests of the Green Mountains, he never lost his love of horses- their loyalty, their strength and their capacity to do hard work. Perhaps, then, it would be the best sort of compliment to say that Gerald, himself, was a workhorse. He never quit, he never lost his love for the job or the men who worked for him, and he refused to be curbed in what the company could do. “There is no such thing as can’t,” he was fond of saying. And he lived by that his whole life.