Cardy was a basketball star at St. John’s High School in Paterson and was chosen as first team All League player by the Paterson Evening News. A Scholarship player at Muhlenberg College, he started at point guard or four years and was the star of the team.
Cardy taught history and coached basketball upon arriving at Glen Rock. His teams won numerous league championships and took the state title in 1961 with a 26‐1 record. Cardy was the Bergen Record and Ridgewood News coach of the year on several occasions. Always the teacher, he ran the North Jersey summer basketball camp for 35 years. He also coached baseball at Glen Rock and was known for his emphasis on fundamentals.
An innovative teacher, Gemma’s World Problems course became the nation’s first model U.N. class. The class was an all time favorite of many student and was characterized by extensive and lively student participation.
An inveterate student, Cardy did graduate work at N.Y.U. and in 1962 took a sabbatical for a year of study on India where he met Jawaral Nehru.
After retiring from Glen Rock in 1987, he became the basketball coach and Athletic Director at Centenary College. He led Centenary College basketball to an outstanding winning record and established many other winning athletic teams for Centenary. The school now gives the Cardy Gemma Award each year to graduating seniors for outstanding athletic achievement, attitude and leadership. Gemma was also known for his outstanding Community involvement serving as Chairman of the Glen Rock Human Relations Council. He was an active member of the Youth Recreation Program and was a key member of the Glen Rock High School 50th Anniversary Committee.
Cardy was also an active and lifetime member of the American Association of the United Nations. He was awarded the prestigious United Nations award by this organization in 1975.
All remember him for his very friendly personality. He was a good friend and always offered support to all. One of his strengths was as a good listener. Cardy was a model coach and teacher who was admired and loved by the many students and athletes that he came into contact with.