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Russel Gerlach

Russel Gerlach Obituary
Russel Gerlach

Lafayette - Russel L. Gerlach, Emeritus Professor of Geography at Missouri State University (formerly Southwest Missouri State University), died Jan. 7, 2019, in Lafayette, Ind.

Born June 20, 1939, to Dorothy Heizenreter Gerlach and Alfred Gerlach Sr. in Lincoln, Neb., he grew up in Lincoln and graduated from Crete High School in 1958. He earned a bachelor's, master's and Ph.D., all in geography, from the University of Nebraska.

He was an active member of the U.S. Army, 1961-64, serving in Korea.

He joined the faculty at Missouri State University in 1969, where he remained until he retired in 1996. His primary research focuses were immigration and settlement patterns in Missouri and the Ozarks. He was the author of multiple publications, including the books "Immigrants in the Ozarks" (1976) and "Settlement Patterns in Missouri" (1986).

He received the Distinguished Teaching Achievement Award from the National Council for Geographic Education in 1986 and the Distinguished Scholar award from Southwest Missouri State University, 1988-93.

He was a Fulbright Exchange Professor to Repton, England, in 1976-77 and was a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Irish Studies, Queens University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 1980-81. He was a visiting professor at Guangdong College, Guangzhou, China, in 1991 and 1992.

He married Jean Miller on June 3, 1961, and she survives. He is survived by four children: John (Barbara Sebek), Fort Collins, Colo.; Cindy (Gary Mueller), Lafayette, Ind.; Andrew, St. Alban's, W. Va.; and James (Sarah), Springfield, Mo. He is also survived by four granddaughters: Alison, Madeleine and Sylvia Mueller and Emily Gerlach, and two grandsons: Ethan and Dylan Gray; and one brother, Jerry Gerlach. He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Alfred Gerlach Jr.

Services will be private. Memorials may be made to St. Mary Healthcare Center in Lafayette or the Honor Flight, Share memories and condolences online at
Published in the Journal & Courier on Jan. 8, 2019
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