Richard Gerbrandt

Obituary Condolences

Richard Gerbrandt Obituary
Richard Gene Gerbrandt went to be with our Lord Jesus on June 18th, 2015 with his two loving daughters by his side. Richard was born on October 18th, 1929 in San Jose, California, raised by his father, Abraham Jacob Gerbrandt and his Mother Anna Louis Wiens Gerbrandt. Abraham and Anna had three sons, Richard, the eldest, Kenneth and Gordon.
In 1943, Uncle Dick Gerbrandt was the first pastor of the newly established Mennonite Brethern Church in San Jose. It was under Uncle Dick's ministry that Richard, at age 14, committed his life to Jesus after a series of messages about the second coming of Christ. Richard responded to the invitation to ask Christ to forgive his sins and accept him as one of His children. Assurance of eternal salvation has been his since that time. Without a doubt, this was a milestone in setting the direction for the rest of his life.
Richard graduated from San Jose High School in 1947 at age seventeen, and continued his education at Tabor College for the next three years. Not sure of what he wanted to do in life and facing the possibility of being drafted for two years into the army, he decided to enlist for four years in the United States Air Force. Richard was sent to Radio School at Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, ILL., near St. Louis. After basic training, he was trained for 9 months in radio repair and maintenance for both receivers and transmitters and was ultimately stationed at several different hilltop locations near the coast of Yokohama Japan as a radio transmitter operator.After his four years of service, Richard was offered a promotion to Staff Sargent if he would re-enlist. By this time; however, he had already set his direction towards some kind of Christian ministry. He returned to Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas and graduated with a BA degree in Psychology and a double minor in Sociology and Music. Richard then completed three more years of graduate study at the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary in Fresno, California. During the summers between school years he worked for Hartland Christian Camp located in the Sierra Mountains east of Fresno. He set up the summer programs, developed publicity and supervised the camps throughout the summer.
Richard met his loving wife, Erma Marie Bartel, while attending seminary and they were married on November 25th, 1960. They served together in five Mennonite Brethren Churches. "Richard, the pastor and violinist," and "Erma, the gifted pianist and organist." What a team! Richard accepted his first job with the Mennonite Board of Education, representing Tabor College and the MB Seminary. Richard began his pastoral ministry in 1961, where they planted a church in Clinton, Oklahoma. His ministry continued with a church plant in Sacramento, followed by pastoral assignments in the Bakersfield MB, San Jose MB and Reedley MB churches. During Richard's forty- three years of full time ministry, he officiated hundreds of weddings and funerals, preached from the pulpit weekly, was a teacher, and loved people. He had a passion for counseling and pastoral care. Most importantly, he loved Jesus and his family.
Richard was met in heaven by his loving wife, Erma Gerbrandt, his first born grandchild, Nathan, and his parents, Abraham and Anna.
He is survived by his three children, Shelley, Connie and Douglas and their spouses, Ronnie, Alan and Susan, his seven grandchildren, Matthew and Ashley Tramel, Ashley, Tyler and Aly Cottrell, Autumn and Hailey Gerbrandt and four great grandchildren. A memorial fund has been created for "City Impact," a ministry supporting missions in the Tenderloin area of San Francisco where his two eldest granddaughters, Ashley and Aly are serving full time, following their grandfather's footsteps.
A special thank you to Dr. Sam Ratnayake for the sweet love and care given to our parents over the past five years. Your wisdom will forever be appreciated. Thank you to all the doctors and nurses at Mercy Hospital who treated our parents with love and respect. Thank you to the staff at Glenwood Gardens for caring for our father so tenderly.
Memorial service will be held at the Reedley Mennonite Brethren Church at 1:00 on Thursday, June 25th.
Published in Bakersfield Californian from June 23 to June 24, 2015
Read More