Cover photo for Kenneth Walter Gerlach, Sr.'s Obituary
Kenneth Walter Gerlach, Sr. Profile Photo

Kenneth Walter Gerlach, Sr.

May 18, 1933 — June 4, 2023

Kenneth Walter Gerlach, Sr.

Kenneth Walter Gerlach Sr. of Ruckersville, Virginia passed away on June 4, 2023 in the presence of his loving wife, Gerda, and children, Kenny, Peter and Susan. Ken and Gerda had recently celebrated together his 90th birthday, her 85th birthday and their 65th wedding anniversary.

Ken was born to Ernest and Elizabeth Gerlach on May 18, 1933 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. As a child, he grew up with six siblings and many friends that he remained closed to all his life. After graduating from Pittsfield High School, he enlisted in the Air Force where he proudly served for 4.5 years including multiple locations within the United States and in Germany.

While still in the service, Ken and a colleague were having dinner at a restaurant at an Air Force base in München, Germany. Both were attracted to the cute waitress attending to their table. His buddy quickly asked her if he was her type to which she promptly replied “Nein." Ken, seizing the opportunity, asked “How about me?” The young Fräulein, Gerda, responded “maybe” and the rest is history.

After an honorable discharge from the Air Force, Ken returned to Germany to work and marry Gerda on May 17, 1958 in her hometown, Prien am Chiemsee. The following year the two moved to Pittsfield, Massachusetts where Ken attended Holyoke Junior College and eventually accepted a position with the General Electric Company as a Field Engineer, one he held for over 30 years. Together the two lived also in Connecticut, South Carolina, California, Maine and Scotland bearing two sons and a daughter while still maintaining a very close relationship with Gerda’s parents, Heinz and Josephine Schlaug.

Whether it was traveling to Germany, Austria and Italy every other summer, making trips to Cape Cod, camping at the State Forest or by the Battenkill River, going on Safaris in Africa, picnicking with his many nieces and nephews or just spending time with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Ken cherished the time with his loving wife and family. Ken had a keen skill with woodworking and constructed many intricate pieces of furniture including dining room hutches, kitchen jelly cabinets, bedroom dressers, Shaker pegboards and a variety of shelves, chairs and stools, etc. for his family.

Ken is survived by loving wife, Gertude Elizabeth Schlaug Gerlach, along with three children; Ken and Louise Gerlach, Peter and Kristin Gerlach, Susan and Fred Peck, eight grandchildren, Krista with Bernard, Caitlin with Kraig, Kelsey with Luke, Emily, Allison with Christian, Brooke, Justin and Madison and ten great grandchildren, Josie, Bernie, Catherine, Faith, Hunter, Olivia, Ben, Blake, Shepherd and Collins.

A memorial service will be held at McDaniel Funeral Home located in Ruckersville, Virginia on Saturday, July 22nd. Please join us for greetings at 10AM followed by a service at 11AM. A private gathering for the family will occur afterwards. The entire Gerlach family expresses their sincere gratitude to Dr. Brooke Bostic and all the staff with the local Hospice team who cared for Ken and Gerda during his final months.

McDaniel Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Kenneth Walter Gerlach, Sr., please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Visitation

Saturday, July 22, 2023

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Memorial Service

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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