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July 15, 2014
Ethel I. "Rena" Gerhard, 79, of Spring Township, Berks County, passed away peacefully Tuesday holding her husband's hand at the Reading Hospital, West Reading.
She was the wife of J. Calvin Gerhard, with whom she shared 53 years of marriage. They were married in Market Square Methodist Church, Pottsville, on Dec. 25, 1960.
Born in Danville, Va., she was a daughter of the late Robert L. and Florence M. Chitester Johnson.
She was a member of St. John's (Hain's) United Church of Christ, Wernersville, where she was a past teacher in the ECL adult Sunday school class and had served on the Evangelism committee.
Rena graduated from Pottsville High School in 1953. She earned a bachelor's degree in English, a master's degree in philosophy and completed substantial course work toward a doctorate in English at Penn State. She taught logic at Penn State University, Altoona campus.
After her marriage, she excelled as a loving and devoted wife, mother and homemaker.
She assisted her husband in teaching international folk dancing at Kutztown University and performed with the Valanty Folk Dancers. She enjoyed ballroom dancing; was a member of several dance clubs including the VIP Dance Club and Fun-N-Friends; and wrote the newsletter for the former Reading Chapter of the US Amateur Ballroom Dancers Association, now USA Dance.
She was a member of the Rockhill Trolley Museum, where she helped run the museum store. She was a past den mother, composed music, some of which was used in services at Hain's Church, and wrote poetry that was published in the Reading Eagle and as a collection in a book.
She was vice president of the family business, PENNVIA Private Rail Cars Inc.
Surviving, in addition to her husband, are two sons, Frederick C. Gerhard, husband of Rachael, Acton, Mass., and John M. Gerhard, husband of Barbara, Wernersville; five grandchildren, Ross, Katrina, Wade and Taylor Gerhard and Michael DeAngelis; and two great-grandchildren, Gabriel and Marietta.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at St. John's (Hain's) United Church of Christ, 591 N. Church Road, Wernersville, officiated by her pastor, the Rev. Dr. Jon A. Fogle. Friends are invited to call from 10 to 11 a.m. Monday at the church. Interment will be in Hain's Church Cemetery, Wernersville. Lamm & Witman Funeral Home, 243 W. Penn Ave., Wernersville, is in charge of arrangements. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. John's (Hain's) UCC, P.O. Box 148, Wernersville, PA 19565, or Railways to Yesterday Inc., operator of the Rockhill Trolley Museum, P.O. Box 1601, Allentown, PA 18105.
Lamm & Witman Funeral Home Inc
243 W. Penn Avenue Wernersville, PA 19565
Published in Republican & Herald on July 17, 2014