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Ronald Goerss

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Ronald Goerss Obituary
Ronald George Goerss

April 10, 1929 - July 4, 2013

Ronald George Goerss, passed away peacefully shortly after midnight on Independence Day, 2013. Born on April 10, 1929, in Tonawanda, NY, to dedicated parents Elmer and Lydia (Brauer) Goerss, he is survived by his loving wife, Elizabeth (Ross) Goerss, his sons, Ronald S. and David, his daughter, Susan Goerss Brown, and their spouses Edith Foothorap, Monica Delgado Goerss, and Daniel G. Brown. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Thomas and Robert Goerss, Justin Goerss, and Caitlin and Brenna Brown.

Ron is a graduate of the Concordia Seminary, in St. Louis, MO, where he played intercollegiate basketball and obtained both his B.A. and M.Div. degrees. Ron brought drive, passion, and humor wherever he went. Before graduating from the seminary, he served a year as Vicar at West Portal Lutheran Church in San Francisco, when he met the love of his life, Betsy, then a youth group counselor of the "Friday Nighters" at Trinity Lutheran Church in Burlingame. Soon to be married, he received and declined an offer from the famed coach, Clair Bee, to play for the NBA Baltimore Bullets. In 1954, Ron moved to Southern California to found the Lutheran campus ministry at UCLA, and for 12 years served as the campus pastor. He dedicated the campus Lutheran chapel in 1965. During this time, he earned an M.A. from the University of Southern California. He also served a year as pastor to the university community and co-pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Valparaiso, Indiana.

In 1966, Ron decided to pursue a career in business as a management consultant, working first as Manager of Staff Recruitment at McKinsey & Co., Los Angeles. He went on to join MRG Corporation, Los Angeles, as a partner. In 1971, Ron and his family moved to Burlingame, CA when he became Vice President of Heidrick & Struggles, the international executive search firm and was associated with the San Francisco office from 1971 to 1980. He was co-founder and partner of Smith, Goerss & Ferneborg, headquartered in San Francisco, awarded "Hall of Fame" designation by industry observers. Before retirement, Ron joined Boyden Global Executive Search as partner.

Ron was an avid sports fan, lifelong reader, published author and world traveler. He could find the humor in any situation and was ready to share it at a moment's notice. He supported several charities and was known to participate in many lively discussions about current events and politics. He never forgot his Lutheran ministry and often assisted his fellow pastors when needed.

Friends are invited to attend a Memorial service held at St. Andrews Lutheran Church, 1501 So. El Camino Real, San Mateo on Saturday, July 13th at 11:00 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Ron's favorite charity, Samaritan House in San Mateo.


Published in San Francisco Chronicle on July 10, 2013
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