|Walter I. Gerber|
|July 27, 1935 - January 22, 2012|
|Rock Island, Illinois|
|Visitation: 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. Friday January 27, 2012 at Wheelan-Pressly Funeral Home, 3030 7th Ave., Rock Island, Ill.|
|Funeral Service: 10:00 a.m. Saturday January 28, 2012 at Wheelan-Pressly Funeral Home, 3030 7th Ave., Rock Island, Ill.|
|Interment: Saturday January 28, 2012 at Memorial Park Cemetery, Rock Island, Ill. |
|Walter I. Gerber, 76, of Rock Island, died Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012 at St. Anthonyís Continuing Care Center, Rock Island.|
Funeral services are 10 a.m. on Saturday at Wheelan-Pressly Funeral Home, 3030 7th Ave., Rock Island. Burial is at Memorial Park Cemetery, Rock Island. Visitation is 3 to 7 p.m. Friday at the funeral home. Memorials may be made to Two Rivers United Methodist Church, Rock Island, or to the Rock Island Wrestling Program.
Walter was born on July 27, 1935 in Kewanee, Ill., a son of Walter E. and Nora Moore Gerber. He married Patricia A. Groves on Nov. 19, 1966 in Rock Island. She died Oct. 8, 2011.
He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Illinois University, Macomb. Walt also received an electronics degree from the Army Industrial Training Center in Baltimore, Md. He taught industrial arts at Rock Island High School from 1957 until his retirement in 1990. Walt was also the head wresting coach at Rocky from 1970 until 1990. He was inducted into the Illinois Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame in 2002.
Walt served in the Illinois National Guard from 1957 to 1960. He was a member of Two Rivers United Methodist Church, Rock Island, where he served as the program leader for the Methodist Menís organization. He served as ďMr. SpiritĒ at Rock Island High School for many years.
Survivors include his sons and daughters-in-law, Douglas I. and Sally Gerber, Palatine, Ill., Don E. and Sabrina Gerber, Honolulu, Hawaii and Dennis W. Gerber, and his friend, Tina Randolph, Milan; grandchildren, Melody, Michael, Sean, Justina, Mitch, Blake, Joe and Kyle; great-grandchildren, Antonio, Fiori and Owen; a sister and brother-in-law, Shirley and Dave Bliven, Burlington, Iowa; and brother and sister-in-law, John and Georganna Gerber, Canton, Ill. He was preceded in death by his parents and wife, Pat.
Online condolences may be left at www.wheelanpressly.com.
We were quite shocked to see the death of your father. Your father and mother were exceptional people who touched many lives with their love, honesty, friendship, and generousity to the students, parents,friends and teachers of this community. They will be greatly missed and have been since their retirement. They gave so much of themselves to all.
Unfortunately, we are out of town and will be unable to attend any service. We are so glad that we were able to visit on those occasions with your father since your mother passed.
Please know we are with you in spirit and all of you are in our thoughts and prayers at this very difficult time. God Bless You All.
Shirley and Bill Long
-- Shirley and Bill Long
Coach Walt Gerber, you'll always be remembered. Thanks for being a great influence in my life! Prayers and love go out to family and friends.
-- Curtis Lewis
Don, Doug and Dennis,
Words fail me. I am deeply saddened at Coach's passing. He meant so very much to so many people. All the memories of wrestling seasons, from so many years ago, come flooding back. Your family has always been cherished part of ours. I loved Gerb, as did so many of his wrestlers. Please know that all of you will be in the thoughts and prayers of my family.
With love and deepest sympathies,
John Moyes and Family
-- John Moyes
My thoughts and prayers to the Gerber family and the Rock Island community. I could write a book here on the inspiration Walt was in my life, but simply put.. he was my hero.
-- Tony Bower
Very sad to hear of your loss, Doug. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
-- Tracy Lord
You couldn't help but smile when you saw Coach Gerber! Memories of Rocky aren't complete without him. My sympathies to his family and the Rock Island community as they deal with this tremendous loss.
-- Mari VanDeVoorde-Smith
Coach Gerber was such a great guy and truly was a "Rock". He will be missed. Thoughts and prayers for the family.
-- Jennifer Wendland
Doug, I want to convey my deepest regrets to you and your family
-- Gregory Adams
Thinking of Coach Gerber has to make you smile!! Memories of your days at Rocky aren't complete without him. His RI spirit was contagious. His antics at the games getting the crowd going and sharing his passion for our school is something we that love RI will continue in his honor. Our sympathies to his family and to the entire Rock Island community as we deal with this tremendous loss of our awesome Coach Gerber.
-- Susan Tobin Schneider
To the Gerber Family, My sincerest thoughts to you for your loss. Coach Gerber was my coach, who brought me through some tough times. He was tough on me but sincere in every way. He had my back and supported me win or lose.
I will never forget how powerful he was in my eyes he was my Rock.
-- Dave Wayne
I am so sorry for your loss, Doug. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.
-- Diane Little
Doug, Don, and Dennis, I am thinking of you and your families at this time of sorrow.
-- Chris Koehler
Please accept my sincere condolences on the passing of your Father, the Great Coach Gerber. I worked with your Mother years ago & loved them both. I was lucky to have been invited to your home over the years 75-85 and loved to watch you Pat & Walt laugh at and with each other. Now they can continue laughing.God Bless you in this sad time.
-- Deb Jacobson Minch
Doug and family, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your dad. I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.
-- Linda Baker
My sincerest sympathies to the family. Coach Gerber was my coach in my youth and a lifelong friend. He will be greatly missed. Gary Garcia
-- Gary Garcia
We have such fond memories of Coach Gerber. He was "Mr. Spirit" at RIHS when I attended there, and when Roger wrestled for Moline High School. Coach Gerber was a wonderful mentor when Roger coached Jr. High wrestling for the RI schools. He was always encouraging, supportive, and positive. He will be missed, but his loving commitment to young people and the community will never be forgotten. We are thankful to have known him.
-- Roger and Rhonda Angell
I donít think back on high school very often anymore, but itís Big olí Coach Gerberís face I see when I do look back. He taught so many lessons on the wrestling mat; about never giving up, living with integrity, personal pride, and doing what you love. Heís the reason I teach. Go with God, Coach, and coach us from heaven.
-- Tim Sanders
I remember Walt from Franklin Junoir High where he taught before he went to Rocky. He was know for VERY loud pep cheers for our sports. When we would see him head for the stage we'd chuckle and nudge each other because we knew he was going to belt out another loud one. So sorry for your loss...
-- bill johnson
During the tumultuous years of 72 and 73 at Rocky you Walt always shone through as a solid advocate for what was right and just. You were solid role model for anyone who approached you. Your pre- and mid-game center court cheering at the RIHS field house with the Spirit Stick was a microcosim of what you were to many of us: Larger than life, driven, focused, and enthusiastic. Peace to you Walt and your family.
-- Tom Pappas
Doug,Don and Dennis; Words cannot express the sorrow at the passing of your father. He was a great man and a legend in the community. The lives he touched is beyond measure. I am proud to have wrestled for him and been one of his boys. Thank you for sharing him with all of us as we grew up. Everyone of us who wrestled for coach is a better man because of his leadership. God Bless.
-- Lance Riccio
Gerber family, We are sorry for your loss.
-- Mike and Michelle Lysaught
Walt will be missed by all whos lives he touched. He was a fun and colorful man...I had the greatest respect for Walt as a coach and a person...He was a great coach and a better person. Always had a kind word and would talk your ear off about the sport he loved. He was also fun to interact with when I officiated at Rocky...God Bless to the entire family, not only the relatives but the entire Rocky family....RIP my friend
-- greg anderson
Doug, Don and Dennis, I am sorry of the loss of your father. I have fond memories of him as a child when we would all go boating. May your memories of him comfort you. Love Julie Price Gelaude
-- Julie (Price) Gelaude
The community has lost a true citizen of Rock Island and a faithful leader & fan of Rock Island High School and its students. May Coach Gerber's spirit inspire all of us to support young people and our community as a whole. He & his wife Pat will forever be on the sidelines cheering kids to victory.
-- SuzAnne Nicholson Schindler
Don, the coach was one hell of man and a great leader and developer of young men! He is and always will be remembered in the highest esteem by the kids and the community that he lead! God Bless!
-- Chris Ontiveros
Doug, Dennis and Don.
I am in Florida for the winter and was called by my son Dane and he told me of Walt's passing. During this time of your sorrow words can not express my feelings about your father. He has touched so many lives including myself and my family. God bless him.
Your old coach and friend. Doug Hallberg
-- Douglas Hallberg
So sorry to hear of the loss of your dad, my husband Tim was on the same floor as your dad, he past away January 3rd from Parkinsons Disease. Tim would go into your dads room at the nursing home and watch him play chess. I remember saying hi to him and opening a carton of milk for him at lunch time..he was so polite. May God be with your family. Rhonda (Tim) Landuit
-- Rhonda Landuit
One of my prominent memories of Walt took place probably twenty years ago. A group of us have been canoeing once a year for over thirty years. Walt and Paul DeYoung were part of the group for quite a few years. At the beginning of a trip, when Walt and Paul were readying the canoe, they slipped and partially submerged the canoe. Several teenage boys nearby got a laugh out of that until Walt picked up the canoe, half filled with water, lifted it up head-high and emptied the water. The kids quit laughing. He was a mighty man and a sweet guy.
-- Tom Maehr
I had the privalage of being in your fathers welding class in 1975 & 1976 he was a great teacher and mentor. He gave me skills and values I use to this day. I am so sorry for your loss
-- Sid Adams
Dear Members of Walt's Family,
I am so sorry that I must be out of town and can't share my condolences in person.
Walt was a great teaching/coaching colleague of mine. His part in the weekly study/discussion group for teens at my home was always superb. I have never known anyone who can quote scriptures like he could! He truly "made a difference" with his life. May God bless you all as you go through his loss, Bob Motz
-- Bob Motz
Doug,Don and Dennis your Dad was not my coach but my friend.He was fun to joke with and was a a fantastic in his support of Rocky as a coach and as a fan.I will pray for the Gerber family.
-- Bob Bower
A giant of a man with a giant heart. a canoeing buddy.
-- Roy lagerblade
Coach Gerber and Wrestling was huge in my life and that of my family. My sister cheered as a Wrestlette, my stepdad worked the consession and my mom squirmed in the bleachers. Coach brought out the best in all of us during a special time in our lives. I'll never forget as a freshman coach advising me, if I was going to get that take down, to "shoot through the legs" and not just aim for the legs. That piece of advice has brought me some success on the mat but more so in life because no matter what the goal, I set my sites on achieving a little more, just by "shooting through the legs". In practice through the years he would challenge me weekly to take him down but I couldn't do it until my senior year just before Regionals. When I finally got him he told me I was ready and I went out and won my weight class and the team won the tourney. He inspired all of us well beyond the wrestling room. Coach will be sorely missed but he will never be forgotten. My family and I extend our deepest condolences to the Gerber family with heartfelt thanks for Walt's mentoring throughout my life.
-- Greg Moroni
I wish to offer my deepest condolences to the Gerber family. I remember Coach Gerber when I was going to Rocky. He was much loved by everyone there. He will be truly missed.
-- Velma White
Doug, Don and Dennis,
I was deeply saddened to hear that our coach has passed away. He was a great influence in my life and I often think of him even 30 years after high school. He was passionate, inspirational and generous and made us better on and off the mat. I am sorry that I am traveling and unable to make it back to Illinois in time to pay my respects in person. I know that he touched many lives and that you are in the thoughts and prayers of us all at this time.
-- Nick Pappas
So glad to have known your dad in good times (70's) and at the end. Mr. Gerber was a great man and wrestling coach, thanks for sharing him with the RI community. Blessings on you and your families through your loss and may you prosper and honor him in the future.
-- Brian Baker
I am sorry for your loss. Walt led an enthusiatic life while I was at Rocky and will never forget that gravelly voiced man running the sidelines pumping up the fans and players. Godspeed Walt.
-- David Sebben
I learned to wrestle from Coach Gerber back in 1974 through the Rock Island park board. He was bigger than life to me, and I learned a lot from him. I still have some of the poker chip wrestling medals he had made for the kid tournaments he organized. He was a great man, and had a great family. He will always be my first coach, and he will be sorely missed. I will never forget him.
-- Brian Waddell