Gerald Augustus Archambeau was born in Jamaica in 1933. Raised in Kingston by his three aunts, he was sent to Canada in 1947 to join his mother and stepfather in Montreal. He trained in the plumbing and steam-fitting trade, but at age eighteen decided to join the railway as a passenger car porter. He worked for Canadian Pacific and Canadian National until the 1960s, when declining passenger rail traffic and the ascendence of air travel caused him to switch to a career with a major Canadian airline in Toronto.
After his retirement from the airline, Gerald and his wife, Marion, settled in St. Catharines, Ontario.