Robert Gerber
1933 - 2021
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Robert Gerber
March 24, 1933 - March 3, 2021
Chapel Hill, North Carolina - Robert Gerber, beloved husband, father, and grandfather, died peacefully on March 3, 2021, surrounded by family. Bob is survived by and will be deeply missed by his devoted wife of 55 years, Carol Knoble Gerber, of Chapel Hill, previously of Charlotte, North Carolina; son, Robert W. Gerber, of Arlington, Virginia; and daughter, Carolyn C. Gerber, son-in-law Michael Maiwald, and grandchildren Jakob and Anna Maiwald, all of Chapel Hill.
Born in in 1933 in Zürich, Switzerland, and raised during wartime, Bob learned self-reliance and a strong work ethic at an early age. After an apprenticeship in mechanical engineering, he followed his dream and set out for America.
He served two years in the U.S. Army 4th Armored Division, where he was a decorated marksman. In Cleveland, Ohio, he became an American citizen and joined a management training program of the Ridge Tool Company, a division of Emerson Electric and the maker of RIDGID brand tools. There he also met and fell in love with Carol Knoble. They married in 1965, which he called the best decision he ever made.
They made their home in Charlotte, where their two children were born. Then Bob's career took the family to Brussels, Belgium, and Zug, Switzerland. Retirement brought them back to Charlotte and recently to Chapel Hill. They made dear friends everywhere they lived.
Bob had a 20-year career with Ridge, continued in executive roles with other manufacturing firms, and later started two companies of his own. He was an inventor, holding two U.S. patents, and was an accomplished woodworker who could build anything from a deck to a dollhouse. He took up painting in his retirement and filled their home with the tranquil landscapes of Europe that he loved. A champion wrestler in his youth, he also enjoyed skiing and golf.
While living in Charlotte, he was a longtime member of Covenant Presbyterian Church, the Retired Couples Club of Charlotte, Providence Country Club, the Swiss Society of Charlotte, and the Charlotte Society of Mechanical Engineers.
Creative, optimistic, and fearless, Bob was an adoring husband and father and a playful and affectionate Grandaddy. His family will always remember his kind and loving presence, the great pride he took in his children and grandchildren, and his wise and practical advice, delivered in his endearing Swiss accent.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Clara Kunz Gerber, and his sister, Verena Gerber Rüegg.
A private family ceremony at Lakewood Park Cemetery in Rocky River, Ohio, and a memorial service to celebrate his life are planned for later this year.
Memorial donations may be made to the Duke Dementia Family Support Program at or to Covenant Presbyterian Church at

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Published in Charlotte Observer on Mar. 7, 2021.
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2 entries
March 14, 2021
We were so sorry to read of Robert's passing. We have fond memories of time share with both of you. We hold you and your family in our prayers. Herb and Marilyn Bonkovsky.
Herb & Marilyn Bonkovsky
March 9, 2021
Death brings sadness but also memories. There are so many wonderful ones of Bob. Your obituary captures him well. Definitely a life well lived. For me, his most evident quality...his pleasant optimism. I feel lucky to have had so many lovely family times with you are. I hold Bob with me and feel his energy from afar.
Susan Eastman Tilsch
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