MICHAEL FRANCIS GERBERMichael Francis Gerber passed away peacefully on Sunday Nov. 10, 2013.
Michael Francis Gerber passed away peacefully on Sunday Nov. 10, 2013, surrounded by his loving family.
Mike was born in Duluth, on Dec. 27, 1952.
He grew up in the West End neighborhood. While attending Lincoln Junior High School, he met his future wife Nancy. The two became high school sweethearts and graduated together from Duluth Denfeld in 1971. In 1974, their wedding was the last ever held at St. Clement’s Church. Mike and Nancy shared a happy and blessed life together.
From a very early age, Mike was active in his community through athletics. He played varsity basketball while at Denfeld, and later became involved in bowling, softball and coaching. These experiences provided the foundation for his life as an adult, as Mike integrated his athleticism and natural instinct to help others.
In 1993, Mike was part of a group that founded the Duluth Amateur Youth Basketball Association. This grassroots organization became a driving force for area basketball through the sponsorship of dozens of youth leagues and teams, the Spirit of the North Tournament and the Border Battle High School All-Star Games. Mike served as the association’s chairman for several years, and his dedication and hard work benefited hundreds of area players.
As a life member of Painters Local 106, Mike performed his craft with professionalism and kindness. He worked for Lakehead Painting in Superior, Wis., for 30 years. Always willing to help others, he served as an instructor of apprentice painters for more than a decade. Each spring, he also arranged restoration projects for local non-profits. These included food shelves, the Veterans Museum and the beautification of St. Mark’s Church. It was efforts such as these that earned him numerous community service awards.
Mike’s willingness to embrace new experiences and challenges was also a trait admired by all who knew him. Motorcycle trips with Nancy, “adventure day” with his children and grandchildren, and earning a degree from Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia were just some of the ways he lived life to its fullest.
Mike will be remembered not just for the many ways he contributed to the world, but for his positive and encouraging attitude. Whether it was helping a novice bowler with her approach, remodeling a surprisingly challenging bathroom for a relative, driving his and other people’s kids to the many activities he encouraged them to try, or listening patiently to a small basketball player telling a long story, Mike always enjoyed himself and others immensely. He made life fun for everyone around him.
Preceded in death by his parents, Victor and Mary (VanGrysperre) Gerber; and father-in-law Jerry (Big Jer) LeGarde.
Mike is survived by his wife Nancy (LeGarde); children Amy (Paul) Valentino, Becky (Chris) Magnuson and Michael (Bubba) Angel Nelson) Gerber; grandchildren Max, Zoe, Jack, Elsa, Signe, Ella, Mary and Andrew; brothers Steve and Jeff; mother-in-law Pat LeGarde (Mom) and the LeGarde family; good friend Mark Vieau, his large extended family, many friends and his dog Daisy.
VISITATION: 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday with Wake Prayers at 6:30 p.m. in St. Lawrence Church, 2410 Morris Thomas Rd. in Piedmont Heights, where visitation will continue Thursday from 10 a.m. to the 11 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial. Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery. Arrangements by Dougherty Funeral Home, Duluth, (218) 727-3555 www.doughertyfuneralduluth.com
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