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GERKEN SR. JOHN M.
JOHN M. GERKEN SR.
John Morrison Gerken Sr., 90, died peacefully of natural causes April 14 at his home with his family in Chagrin Falls, where he had resided for the last 50 years. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Emily (Guile); his three children, Tom (Karen), Becky Sido (Philip) and Jack (John Gerken Jr.); four grandchildren, Laura Pond (Jeff), Katie Sido, Nicola Gerken & Will Gerken; and two great-grandchildren, Teagan & Riley Pond. A memorial service was held April 19 at St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Chagrin Falls, followed by interment at Evergreen Hill Cemetery, Chagrin Falls.
John was born in Jersey City, NJ, and educated at Newark College of Engineering and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, from which he received his Ph.D. in Metallurgical Engineering in 1956. He served as a state side Army Radar Technician, and was employed by General Electric Knolls Atomic Power Lab, Schenectady, NY. The family moved to Chagrin Falls in 1961 after joining TRW Materials and Manufacturing Technology Center in Cleveland. After retiring from TRW in 1988, he began full-time consulting work with Lincoln Electric as manager of technology transfer in the Welding Technology Center. Retiring from Lincoln in 1992, he became an independent metallurgical, welding, and brazing consultant. Dr. Gerken was a world recognized expert in the welding of high performance materials and served the American Welding Society (AWS) in numerous roles, including Cleveland Section Director, the Board of Directors, and as National President. His lifelong contributions to the society were honored by his election as an AWS Fellow in 1995. In addition, he was an editor of the Lincoln Electric Welding Innovation Quarterly, the AWS Welding Handbook and served as editor and on the board of reviewers of the AWS Welding Journal. John was also heavily involved with the American Society for Metals and the Welding Research Council and was a member of the Sigma Xi and Tau Beta Pi honor societies.
John will be remembered most for his kind and generous personality, his service to his church and his love of antique cars. He served his church as lay reader, chalice bearer, and enjoyed attending Bible study discussion groups. He was active in handing out Gideon Bibles at nursing homes and to men and women entering their military service. He was also heavily involved in the Boy Scouts of America in the 1960's and 70's. In addition, John was a member of the Antique Automobile Club of America serving as Ohio Region President. His fondness of antique cars may be remembered by Chagrin Falls residents as he participated many years in the Chagrin Blossom Time Parade driving his lemon yellow 1919 Cadillac. John also enjoyed participating with the family in Civil War reenactments in the Seventh Volunteer Ohio Infantry. In spite of his slow and steady physical decline, he remained completely lucid to the last days, still offering to help and advise, never ceasing to be helpful and kind. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and good friend to many and will be missed by all.
Friends may contribute in his memory to Odyssey Hospice, 6140 Parkland Blvd., Mayfield Hts. OH 44124; St. Martin's Episcopal Church, 6295 Chagrin River Rd, Chagrin Falls, OH 44022; or Cleveland Section American Welding Society, John M. Gerken Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 37354, Cleveland OH, 44117.
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