BURLINGTON, N.C. - Dr. Hubert John Gerken Jr., 83, of Burlington, N.C., died Oct. 27, 2012 at Alamance Regional Medical Center after a lengthy illness.
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Born in Vienna, Va. on June 4, 1929, John was the son of Hubert John Gerken and Margaret Hudson Ferguson Gerken, both deceased. He was raised on a dairy farm in Fairfax County, Va. and after high school graduation, served in the U.S. Army from 1946-1948. Upon returning from Korea, he enrolled at Virginia Tech and completed an undergraduate degree with honors in Animal Science. He then went on to serve as a County Extension Agent in Frederick and Clarke counties in Virginia. He completed graduate training at both Virginia Tech (masters) and N.C. State (doctorate).
Upon completion of his doctoral degree in 1971, he joined the Animal Science faculty in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech. He served the university and the State of Virginia as extension faculty in beef cattle nutrition until his retirement as professor emeritus in 1991. During his tenure at Virginia Tech, he was a consultant to beef cattle producers throughout Virginia and the Southeastern U.S. as well as in India and the United Kingdom. Recognized many times for his contributions, Dr. Gerken received the Virginia Tech Alumni Association Faculty Excellence Award as well as the Leadership and Service Award from the Virginia Beef Cattle Association, and 30 year service recognitions from the USDA and Virginia Tech. In 2010, he was named an outstanding alumnus of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Animal Science Department.
Upon retirement, he went on to raise beef cattle, first on a farm in Virginia and, after 1997, on a farm in Chatham County, N.C. The farming operation transferred to his daughter and son-in-law's farm in Orange County, N.C. in 2006. Until the last few weeks of his life, he continued to be a valued advisor and frequent visitor to the farm to see his cows.
In addition to farming, Dr. Gerken enjoyed reading and travel, particularly to historic sites and museums. As an avid Virginia Tech football fan, he often spent Saturday afternoons absorbed in supporting the Hokies. He was also an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church and most recently held membership at First Presbyterian Church in Burlington, N.C.
Dr. Gerken is survived by his wife of 53 years, Shirley Humphries Gerken; daughter, Elizabeth Hooten and husband James, of Mebane, N.C.; sister, Margaret Groves of Fullerton, Calif.; brother, Carl Gerken and wife Connie, of Roswell, N.M.; and many nieces and nephews. Also surviving are three special cousins, June Raymond of Pinehurst, N.C., David Beaman (Margie) of Arroyo Grande, Calif. and Wayne Beaman (Joy) of Harrisonburg, Va.; and a very special aunt, Alice Beaman, of Bridgewater, Va.
He was preceded in death by his older sister, May Folmar of Staunton, Va.
His family is indebted to the kind and caring services from Home Care Providers and the nursing staff at Alamance Regional Medical Center as well as the constant compassionate support of both his dear sister-in-law and her husband, Doris and Don DeSarro of Elon, N.C.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, at 11 a.m. in the May-Foley Chapel at the Twin Lakes Community in Burlington, N.C.
The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to the Virginia Tech Foundation for the John and Shirley Gerken Professional Development Fund for VCE. Donations may be mailed to College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Virginia Tech, Development Office (0402), Blacksburg, VA 24061 or to the Twin Lakes Auxiliary Scholarship Fund, c/o Laura McDaniel, Twin Lakes Community, 3701 Wade Coble Drive, Burlington, NC 27215.
Online condolences may be sent to www.richandthompson.com
Published in TheTimesNews.com from Oct. 29 to Oct. 30, 2012