Barry W. Gerdes
HALIFAX- Barry W. Gerdes, 76, a resident of Reed Hill Road, died Friday morning, February 28, at the Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield in the company of his family. He had suffered a stroke that Wednesday morning while preparing for his bus run. The son of Dr. H. William and Ruth M. (Blood) Gerdes, he was born in Brooklyn, NY, on June 12, 1937. He spent his childhood growing up in Queens. He attended Mount Hermon School where he enjoyed working on the farm and then transferred to Whitingham High School, graduating in 1956. At a young age he developed a passion for farming and continued his education at Vermont Agricultural School in Randolph. He started dairy farming in 1958 and enjoyed dairy farming until retiring from that in 1985. He and his wife Laura established Gerdes Transportation in 1968. Over the years they grew the business and were responsible for transporting thousands of children to and from school each day throughout the Deerfield Valley. The pupils they cared for spanned three generations. Mr. Gerdes loved to work; in earlier years he had worked at E.J. Roberts garage and Coombs Maple Products. He served his community as a justice of the peace and as a selectman. He was a longtime member of the Jacksonville Community Church where he sang in the choir and the Jacksonville-Halifax Lions Club. He was also a member of the Couples Club and a 60-year member of the Guiding Star Grange.
Mr. Gerdes enjoyed many interests including collecting and preserving old cars, photography, and cultivating beautiful roses. He enjoyed taking trips with his family and had traveled to Washington state with his daughter and grandchildren and to Ireland with his son, Alaska, Italy, and Hawaii. He took great pride in maintaining his farm property in immaculate condition, passers-by would often stop to take pictures of the pristine property.
He leaves his wife, Laura Sumner Gerdes, whom he married June 24, 1961, in the Halifax Church. He is also survived by his brother, Roger and wife Joan Gerdes, of Mercer Island, WA; son Timothy Gerdes, of Tacoma, WA; daughter, Wendy and husband Jeff Musiak, of Federal Way, WA; and grandchildren, Sophia and Benjamin; as well as nieces, nephews, cousins and many special friends
Funeral services were held on Wednesday, March 5, at the Jacksonville Community Church. A memorial gathering followed at the Whitingham Municipal Center.
In lieu of flowers and to honor Mr. Gerdes’ memory the family suggests friends take the time to do something special with a loved one, such as go out to dinner.
Mr. Gerdes’ family wishes to acknowledge the staff of Franklin Medical Center for the kindness and caring support shown to them during this difficult time.
To send condolences visit www.sheafuneralhomes.com.