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John W. Gerster


1919 - 2017 Notice Condolences
John W. Gerster Notice
John W. Gerster
Dr. John Wynne Gerster, age 98, passed away at his Greenwich, Connecticut home October 13, 2017. Born July 6, 1919 in New York City to Dr. John C.A. Gerster and Alice Fox Gerster, he attended the Allen Stevenson School and was a graduate of Kent School and Yale College, Class of 1941. He completed his medical studies at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, Class of 1944. He twice served in the U.S. Navy: in 1946 in China on the hospital ship "Benevolence," and in 1953, on the hospital ship "Haven" in Inchon, Korea where he performed wartime traumatic surgery. Summers as a boy were spent on the family farm in Wickford, Rhode Island and at his grandfather's Adirondacks camp. Both were instrumental in instilling within him a love of boats, nature and wildlife, subjects of many of his paintings in years to come. His parents taught him to appreciate music at an early age and he was able to play virtually any song by ear. The piano provided relaxation during long "on-call" weekends as well as lively entertainment for family and friends. He married Joan McCreery of Greenwich, CT in 1944. After completing his medical training in New York at St. Luke's and Lenox Hill hospitals, he and his young wife moved to Greenwich where he commenced what would become a career-long affiliation with the Greenwich Hospital, serving as its Chief of Surgery during the 1970s. He retired from private practice in 1985, allowing more time for his chief pastimes, painting and music. Besides family and friends, painting and music, he loved golf and fishing. History, economics and quantum theory were favorite subjects, as was the Sunday NYT puzzle. Late summers were always spent at his summer home in Nantucket, where he and wife Joan returned every year for the entirety of their 61-year marriage. As had Wickford and the Adirondacks, Nantucket provided much subject matter for his painting: crashing waves, lighthouses, sailing ships and seabirds were among his favorites. Post retirement, he merited a membership in ASMA, the American Society of Marine Artists, a particular source of pride. His oil portrait of the ship "Bill of Rights" was selected for ASMA's 2017 National Exhibition and, as part of that exhibition, is currently on display at Mystic Seaport. A longtime member of the Round Hill Club of Greenwich, the Nantucket Yacht Club, and Sankaty Head Golf Club, he was a founding member of the Stanwich Club, and previously enjoyed memberships at the Century Association and the Charaka Club of New York. He was a longtime member of the U.S. Seniors Golf Association; his illustrations of clubs that hosted U.S. Senior events were featured on several of their yearbooks. His paintings hang in schools, corporate offices, medical facilities, private clubs and in countless private homes throughout the country. In addition to his parents, Dr. Gerster was predeceased by a sister, Dorothy Allison, and by his beloved wife, Joan, in 2005. He is survived by his four children and their spouses: Alice and Jharry Breed of Chevy Chase, MD; Alec and Mary Gerster of Rowayton, CT; Peter and Sandra Gerster of Old Lyme, CT; Joanie Gerster and Fred Trezise of Marion, MA. He is additionally survived by five grandchildren: Eileen Gerster Lane, Brennan Gerster, Vail Breed, Wynne Breed and Philip Gerster, along with nine great-grandchildren and many cherished nieces and nephews. Mention must be made of the tremendous care and loyal support provided by "Team Doc" during his last years: Yvonne, Norma, Lina, Pauline, John and Adrianna provided immeasurable comfort and care. Memorial service to be held at 2:00 p.m. on Nov. 2 at Round Hill Community Church. Arrangements by Fred D. Knapp & Sons. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made to the Greenwich Hospital or to Nantucket Cottage Hospital.

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Published in StamfordAdvocate from Oct. 22 to Nov. 1, 2017
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