George F. Gehlert
COLUMBIA — George F. Gehlert was an inspiration.
"He taught me how to be a good citizen, a good person and how to be strong," his daughter Rebecca Adams said.
Mr. Gehlert of Columbia died Thursday, June 23, 2011 — 1½ days before Adams gave birth to her daughter, Sylvia Grace Gehlert Adams. Mr. Gehlert was 82.
He was born March 31, 1929, in Washington, Mo., to George P. Gehlert and Edith E. (Boston) Gehlert.
He married Virginia Sidmon on March 13, 2000.
Mr. Gehlert was also a friend to his children, Adams said. He was hands-on and enjoyed acting silly and playing with his kids.
He also adhered strongly to his values and was never afraid to speak up, she said. Adams said that when she was young and someone cursed in public, her father would approach that person and ask him or her not to use that language in front of his wife and daughter.
Mr. Gehlert's example inspired the way Adams' husband, Steve, wants to be as a parent.
"Our daughter is going to look at my husband as her hero," she said. "My father was my hero."
Adams said that the birth of her daughter was all Mr. Gehlert talked about during the pregnancy.
Mr. Gehlert was a member of the Army and served during World War II and the Korean conflict. He was a peacetime veteran.
He owned Gehlert's Shoes in Washington, where he was a member of the Optimist Club and served on the City Council, his daughter Heather Gehlert said.
On the City Council, Mr. Gehlert played an important role in bringing a sewage treatment plant to Washington, Heather Gehlert said. He was a visionary behind the idea, helped move it forward and served on the City Council when the plant was implemented.
He also worked as a real estate agent, salesman and teacher, Heather Gehlert said.
"He was a jack-of-all-trades," she said.
Mr. Gehlert also built and designed Heather Gehlert's childhood home and was a caregiver to individuals with developmental disabilities for many years.
"He was a very civic-minded person," Heather Gehlert said. "He cared about his community, he cared about his country, and he cared about his family."
Mr. Gehlert loved to talk and often regaled his family with stories, many of which revolved around helping others, she said.
One story he told was from when he was in basic training in the Army, Heather Gehlert said. Some of his colleagues were out of shape and had trouble carrying their 50-pound packs. Mr. Gehlert would carry the packs for his fellow soldiers.
"Literally and figuratively, he took packs off of others' backs," she said. "He was compassionate to people who loved him and people who didn't love him."
In his free time, Mr. Gehlert enjoyed watching funny movies, traveling and reading, his daughters said.
His house was filled with books, Adams said.
He would sit and read instead of watching television, she said. His children naturally picked up reading because of his passion for it.
"I couldn't have asked for a better, more loving father," Heather Gehlert said. "We are very proud of him."
Mr. Gehlert is survived by his wife, Virginia Gehlert; four daughters, Beth Flor, Vicki Hanson, Rebecca Adams and Heather Gehlert; one son, Stephen Gehlert; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
His brother, Jack Gehlert, died earlier.
Visitation will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday at Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 W. Services will follow at the funeral home. Burial will be held at 3 p.m. at Boeuff Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Gerald.
Memorials can be sent to Disabled American Veterans at dav.org or P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati, OH 45250.
Condolences can be posted at memorialfuneralhomeandcemetery.com.