Best known as Bill to his family and friends, he was born at Pandora, O. November 5, 1918, a son of Swiss immigrants Abel Frank and Germaine Jeanrenand Gerber. The flat terrain of western Ohio left his family pining for the more familiar countryside of their homeland and the family relocated to Dover while Bill was still a young boy.
He graduated from Dover High School in 1936 and was a member of the former Phi Sigma Fraternity at Dover.
Bill continued his education at a business college in Canton before joining the East Ohio Gas Company at Canton, O., where he became re-acquainted with grade school classmate Hazel B. Reese.
World War II interrupted their courtship when Bill was drafted into the Army Air Corps. Bill returned to Dover on leave in December, 1942, and he and Hazel were wed the day after Christmas before he returned to active duty in Zephyrhills, Florida and then to the European theater where he was involved in campaigns at Normandy, and later Northern France, and the Central European Air Offensive. His unit earned a Meritorious Unit Citation with an Oak Leaf Cluster and Bill himself earned five Bronze Stars.
Honorably discharged in 1945, Bill returned to the Tuscarawas Valley and went to work at Stonecreek Brick Company before joining his father in the operation of the former Midway Lumber Company on Tuscarawas Avenue. He went on to purchase the company from his father and operated it until his retirement.
Bill dedicated a great deal of time to improving the quality of life in and around Dover. He served as Dover’s Safety Director during the Guy Smith administration in the 1980’s where he earned the respect and admiration of the police and fire departments, who for the rest of his life called him “Director.” He was active in the former Junior Achievement, the Tuscarawas County Chamber of Commerce, American Legion Post #209 at Dover, 40 Et 8 Voiture # 117 at Dover, Tuscarawas Lodge #59 F. & A. M. at Dover as well as the Tadmore Temple of Shriners at Akron. Bill was active in Boy Scouts at the district level and was a former member of the Grace Lutheran Church at Dover where he was involved in many of the administrative bodies of the church. For the past two decades, the Gerber’s have worshipped at Dover’s First Moravian Church.
Among his many accomplishments benefitting the community was his leadership in the construction of The Little Theatre of Tuscarawas County and his many years of service as a member of the Board of Directors of First Federal Savings Bank of Dover.
In his spare time Bill enjoyed gardening, bowling, golfing and hunting. He had a deep love of animals, especially dogs. He was a member of the Zoar Gun Club and a former member of Union Country Club.
Survivors include his daughters and son; Shirley Krutulis of Columbus, Bob (wife, Jane) Gerber of New Philadelphia, and Virginia (husband, Todd) Whetstone of Sugarcreek.
Five grandchildren; Jonathan (wife, Enjoli) Gerber of Sanford, North Carolina, David (wife, Windi) Gerber of Fort Mill, South Carolina, Kelly (husband, Ian) Strickland of Durham, North Carolina, Jenna Chippindale of Columbus and Rachel Chippindale, a student of Ohio University at Athens, O. Four great-grandchildren, Chase and Reese of Fort Mill, SC and Gannon and Giselle of Sanford, NC, also survive.
A sister, Gerda Allenbaugh of Dover and several nieces and nephews complete the family.
In addition to his parents, Bill is preceded in death by his wife of sixty-three years, Hazel, as well as a sister, Helen Rhoads.
Friends are invited to call Thursday, Feb. 7, from 4-7PM in the Geib Funeral Center at Dover where the Rev. John Wallace will officiate Mr. Gerber’s funeral service Friday morning at 10:30. Burial will follow alongside his wife in Dover Burial Park where military honors will be rendered by the Dover VFW.
Following the committal service a luncheon reception will be served in the Dining Room of the Geib Funeral Center at Dover.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Dover First Moravian Church, 319 North Walnut Street Dover OH 44622, or to Community Hospice of Tuscarawas County, 716 Commercial Avenue SW New Philadelphia OH 44663.
To share memories and condolences with the family, please visit the funeral home’s website: www.geibcares.com
Geib Funeral Center at Dover