Junior Gerken received his gift of eternal life on Jan. 17, 2013 at Chanute HealthCare Center. Junior was the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. H. H. Gerken who came as newlyweds to take a homestead three miles east of Humboldt in 1861. They also were charter members of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church which was founded in 1863.
Junior was born on Nov. 15, 1920 to Henry G. Gerken and Emma Pieper Gerken, and lived his entire life on the family farm, until failing health forced him to move to a care home in 2007. Junior attended Central Avenue School until completion of the eighth grade and then began his farming career with his father. He had a lifelong passion for steam engines and railroading and was also a noted historian about Allen County and had an amazing memory of extreme weather events and history of Allen County.
Junior was a lifelong member of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church where he was baptized and confirmed and also served as Head Usher for 50 years, where he trained and instructed many young men on how to serve the church in this manner.
Junior was preceded in death by his parents Henry C. and Emma Gerken and by two brothers, Walter and Elmer. He is survived by a cousin, Mary Numerich of Albuquerque, N.M., and distant cousins, Tom, Tim, and Barry Gerken, Denise Gerken Geier, and Terri Sinclair.
Funeral will be 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20 at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Humboldt where visitation will begin at 1 p.m.
Burial will be in Mount Hope Cemetery, Humboldt.
Memorials are suggested to St. Peter’s Lutheran Church and may be left with the Waugh-Yokum & Friskel Memorial Chapel of Iola.
Online condolences for the family may be left at www.iolafuneral.com