Gerald E. Rubacky, M.D., of Montclair and Bonita Springs, Fla., passed away on April 3 of complications from COVID-19. Known as “Jerry,” he was born in 1927, one of five children of Ellen and Joseph Rubacky of Passaic.

He graduated from Yale University in 1948 and Georgetown University Medical School in 1953. He served as a captain in the Air Force during the Korean War and afterward, from 1953 to 1956. He did his medical residency in orthopedic surgery at Johns Hopkins Medical Center from 1956 to 1960.

Dr. Rubacky is best-known professionally for performing the first anterior cervical discectomy and fusion in the state, in 1960, and the first total hip surgery in New Jersey, in 1981. He was an associate clinical professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

Dr. Rubacky was well-known for his bold candor, sense of humor, easy conversation, and love of golf, and as a father who spent summers with his family in Orleans, Mass. He was devoted to the advancement of the specialty of orthopedics, the training of residents, and oversight of patient care.

He was especially proud of his work promoting the importance of objective medical peer review. Dr. Rubacky moved his young family from Baltimore to Montclair in 1960.  He became a founding partner of The Montclair Orthopedic Group, affiliated with Mountainside hospital. He practiced orthopedic surgery for 36 years.

Dr. Rubacky lived a purposeful life with a very large extended family, rewarding career, and extensive travel to many locales, including China (soon after Nixon reopened relations), Russia, Alaska, Western and Eastern Europe, and two exciting safaris on the Serengeti of Africa. As a child, he spent summers at Lake Mohawk.  A neck fracture playing football played a hand in his choosing of orthopedics as a specialty. He was an avid golfer (and tennis player in his younger years) and long-time member of Montclair Golf Club. He fostered a deep love of sports in his children.

He is survived by his wife, Marjorie McLaughlin Rubacky; eight children, Maryanne Rubacky, Gerald Rubacky Jr., Frank (and Kim) Rubacky, Maggie (and Ron) Chess, Katie (and Bob) Severance, Nora (and Tim) Keefe, Maeve (and Kevin) Walsh, and Michael (and Annie) Rubacky; 13 grandchildren; one great-grandchild; his sister, Ellen Tobin; and 39 nieces and nephews.

Dr. Rubacky’s siblings are Ellen Tobin of Bay Head, the late Eugene Rubacky of Washington, D.C., the late Joseph Rubacky of Franklin Lakes, and the late Kay Willis of Rutherford.

A memorial service will be planned at a future date. For online condolences and updates please visit