Klaus Gerhardt, 87, of Columbia, Missouri passed away Sunday morning, February 26, at Boone Hospital following a series of health challenges. Klaus was born in Drengfurt, East Prussia, the first child of Otto and Elisabeth (Frost) Gerhardt. Having lived through the horrors of World War II during his childhood, Klaus emerged as a survivor. He worked hard at his studies and learned to play the piano and organ, leading to his lifelong appreciation of classical music. After escaping from East Germany, Klaus studied chemistry at the Technical University of Berlin and the Institute for Food Chemistry and Technology. He earned a doctoral degree.
Following his studies in Germany, Klaus made his way to Columbia, Missouri, which has been his home since 1967. He began his career as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Lincoln University in Jefferson City and soon became a Professor of Biochemistry at University of Missouri in Columbia. He spent his career working in the Agricultural Experiment Station Chemical Laboratories at MU, becoming an expert in gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. Career highlights included participation in the analysis of moon rocks collected by NASA during the Apollo missions and a collaborative study with MU archaeologist William Biers analyzing perfume residue trapped inside ancient vases.