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Obituaries » George D. Gerpheide

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September 23, 1923 - January 29, 2017

A memorial service to celebrate George's life will be held on Saturday, February 4, 2017 at 3:00 PM at First Presbyterian Church, 321 South St., Kalamazoo, MI 49007. The Rev. Dr. Seth Weeldreyer will officiate.

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Age 93, passed away peacefully after an eight-hour stay at Bronson Hospital on Sunday, January 29, 2017. A lifelong resident of Kalamazoo, he was born in Kalamazoo on September 23, 1923 to George Henry “GH” and Vera (DeLano) Gerpheide. Creations mechanical and aeronautical were a focus of his early years. During middle and high school years, he constructed and operated a gas-powered, two-passenger “go-kart”, a one-passenger glider airplane, and numerous model airplanes for competition. George attended Western State Teachers College training school and then the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). After returning to Kalamazoo, he was employed at the Kalamazoo Stamping and Die Company. Known for his active life and love of the outdoors, he was a pioneering skier at early Michigan ski areas and co-founded the Kalamazoo Ski Club in the late 1950’s. Enjoying hiking, camping and canoeing, George served the First Presbyterian Boy Scout Troop 205 for many years. Sailing was a lifelong interest. He loved his 28 foot wooden boat “Rozinante” and taught navigation through his later years with the United States Power Squadrons, where he was recognized as a Life Member. After retirement, he ran regularly and in his late 60’s hiked down into the Grand Canyon and up the other side, then back down and up again to return. In his 70’s, his son led him down the “steep and deep” powder slopes of Snowbird, Utah. He hung up his skis in his 80’s. Besides his wife of 64 years, Shirley Anderson Gerpheide of Kalamazoo, he is survived by two sons, George E. (Kay Y. Hoyama) Gerpheide of Utah, and John M. (Cathy E.) Gerpheide of Virginia; nine grandchildren, Dionna M. (John P.) Guider of Minnesota, Christine M. Gerpheide of the Netherlands, George D. (Stephanie R.) Gerpheide of Utah, John R. Gerpheide of Minnesota, Aya L. Gerpheide of California, Taylor M. Gerpheide of Virginia, Sara S. Gerpheide of the Netherlands, Henry H. Gerpheide and Johan H. Gerpheide both of Utah; and two great-grandchildren, Noah W. Guider of Minnesota and Hana R. Gerpheide of Utah.