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Carl Gerken,AlA Emeritus, Ormond Beach, FL, passed away peacefully June 3, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. He had just celebrated his 90th birthday. He was born May 12, 1923 in Savannah, GA to Carl Gerken and Marion Cleveland. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II, serving in the Mediterranean and earned several medals. After an honorable discharge in October 1945, he then married his sweetheart, Leona (Lee) in December 1945. He graduated with his Bachelor's of Architecture from the University of Florida in 1950, was admitted to the State Board of Architecture in June 1954 and began his dream occupation. Carl began his career with Griffin & Gomon, later Gomon & Associates, in Daytona Beach. Carl next opened his own office, Gerken & Upham in the early eighties and later Gerken, Pierce & Smith, working into the mid-nineties. He then took his expertise and opened the Professional Seminars Group, working to ensure architects and interior designers received their continuing education credits through historical architectural tours combined with classroom education. He served many times as an expert witness in court cases that required architectural expertise. He was extremely active in his profession, receiving numerous awards, recognitions and honors for service and dedication to his profession. These included being appointed to the National Council of Architectural Registration Board (NCARB), earning the Anthony L. Pullara award for Outstanding Service to the Architecture profession and the Florida Association of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), being appointed by then-Governor Bob Martinez to the Florida Board of Architecture (1987-1990), serving as Chairman of the Board and later appointed by then-Governor Lawton Chiles to the Board of Architecture and Interior Design (1995-1998), serving as its Chair. He earned the Florida AIA's highest award, the Gold Medal, in 1995 for outstanding and consistent service to the architectural profession for the prior twenty-five years. As one friend and colleague remarked, "Carl was an architect's architect".
Carl stayed active in his community. He was a man of many interests, with a lifelong love for photography. He earned his private pilot's license in the 60's, flying his Beechcraft Bonanza V-tail for many years. He was an active member of the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA) and the Daytona Hangar of the Quiet Birdmen as well as Kiwanis. After the death of his wife in 1984, he then learned to cook and threw many lovely dinner parties and receptions at his home in Ormond Beach. Carl enjoyed model railroading, being an avid member of both the Florida East Coast Rail Society and the Florida East Coast N-Track. Carl was a modeler who used his architectural acumen to design and actually build layouts patterned after his favorite eras of the F.E.C. He was preceded in death by both his parents and his beloved wife, Lee. He is survived by his only daughter, Deborah G. Orr and her husband J. Michael Orr, of Cocoa Beach, FL who have adopted his canine companion, Calvin. Carl has many relatives and friends still remaining in the Savannah and Charleston, SC area, and his nephew, William Weir (Torronto, Ont.). In lieu of flowers, please consider a charitable donation to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, http://www.preservationnation.org as he was passionate about preserving our historic buildings. A private family ceremony will be held at a later date in Savannah. Carl will be buried alongside his father, grandparents, great-grandparents and other beloved family members in Bonaventure Cemetery.
Published in Daytona Beach News-Journal on June 16, 2013