Charles V. GERDES

Obituary
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GERDES, Charles V. a disciple of Christ, husband of 59 years, father of six and grandfather of 16, finished the race on July 14, 2014. While his remaining in the flesh is more necessary for our benefit, he has life with Christ and that is far better. Until his health declined, he was a daily communicant at the Cathedral of St. Jude. He was 86. Born June 15, 1928 to Charles W. and Margaret Gerdes in New York City, he is predeceased by "Big Sis" Helen Janssen and a younger brother William. He spent his early years in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City before his family moved to Norwalk, CT and then Clarksburg, NJ. At 17, he left high school and joined the U.S. Navy just prior to the end of World War II. His unit sailed to Germany to return troops to the U.S., and the destitution he witnessed led him to assist the poor throughout his life, including a long time membership in St. Vincent DePaul. He was awarded the American Theatre Medal. Upon his discharge, he finished his final two years at Upper Freehold Township High School in one year and went on to Purdue University, where he earned a degree in electrical engineering in 1952. He gained employment with Sperry Gyroscope, taking him first to California and then to Korea, where he trained U.S. fighter pilots on Sperry's gun sights. Eventually, the job took him to Frankfurt, Germany and then Copenhagen, Denmark, where he met Annalise Madsen and married his "Queen of Denmark" at St. Kjeld Church in Viborg, Denmark on July 2, 1955. The couple moved first to New York City for two months before stays in Bristol, TN, Huntsville, AL and eventually St. Petersburg in 1963, having two children in each of the three cities. His move to St. Petersburg came as an employee at ECI, which became a division of NCR, E Systems and finally Raytheon, a company from which he retired in 1993 after 32 years. In his 51 years in St. Petersburg, his many community activities included being a founding board member and coach at Azalea Little League, membership in St. Vincent DePaul, various activities at the Cathedral of St. Jude and Junior Achievement. He was also a long time Ham radio aficionado. He and his wife have been ardent advocates of education, supporting their six children to six bachelor, three master and two doctorate degrees. They especially supported Catholic education, including the Charles & Annalise Gerdes Scholarship for attendance at St. Petersburg Catholic High School. He is survived by his wife, Annalise; children, Charlie (Louanne), Karen (Marty), John (Debbie), Marianne Palacios (Fernando), Eileen McNaughton (Dominic) and Robert (Angie); and grandchildren, Copley, Brett, Patrick and William Gerdes, Kat Forster, Elizabeth and Adam Beck, Kyle and Cody Gerdes, Michelle (Kevin Heinsimer), Karla and Jennifer Palacios, Caitlin and Brendan McNaughton, Christian Bean and Cord Gerdes. Each and every family member, as well as so many others, was blessed immeasurably by Charlie's loving and selfless life. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to either St. Vincent DePaul St. Jude Conference 5815 5th Avenue North, St. Petersburg, FL 33710 or Suncoast Hospice Foundation. Visitation will be from 6-8 pm, on Wednesday, July 16, at Our Lady's Chapel at the Cathedral of St. Jude. A prayer service will take place at 7 pm. Funeral Mass will be 1 pm, Thursday, July 17, at Our Lady's Chapel. Online memorial and guestbook at www.brettfuneralhome.net.
Funeral Home
Thomas J. Brett Funeral Home
4810 Central Avenue St. Petersburg, FL 33711
(727) 321-3321
Funeral Home Details
Published in the Tampa Bay Times on July 15, 2014
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