From The Daily Courier on February 1, 2022:
Gene Gertler, a resident of Prescott, Arizona for decades, died Tuesday, January 25, 2022 in Wilmington, Delaware at the age of 86 due to effects of dementia.
In life, he had been an engineer, an executive, and an entrepreneur. He was a man who, when he saw things that needed to be done, got them done.
Born to Meyer and Lillian Gertler May 11, 1936, Gene had a brain for engineering and for systems. Growing up in Queens but attending Manhattan’s prestigious Stuyvesant High School, he used his time getting there on public transit to practice his Morse code, tapping out all the words he saw on the advertisements. It was in this way that he reached the highest speed tested by the accreditation board – 35 words per minute – faster than anyone ever had before.
At Swarthmore College, he majored in engineering, participated in wrestling, and met the first woman he would marry, Susan Creasey.
Gene’s engineering work brought him patents on such things as an early scrolling digital display. Never one for taking the obvious path, he’d gladly tell you that at one point he drove the only “Cadillac station wagon” in New Jersey, that being the only designation that the NJ DMV would allow him to use, feeling it improper for a private individual to be listed as owning a used hearse.
While living in the small town of Riverton, New Jersey and working as president of the computer repair firm Kalbro, he also won a seat on the Riverton school board, eventually serving as president.
He started his own company, a franchise of a national voice mail system. With the support of his wife Pocahontas (a Philadelphia teacher whom he had wooed and won over completely) the company grew and was sold for a substantial profit. They used the money to retire to Prescott.
While in Prescott, Gene and Poco planned to take their excess furniture and clothing to the Navajo reservation. They put the word out to see if others had items that might fill their SUV. The word spread so effectively that he got more than he could handle in one trip . . . and that launched his charity. Over the course of more than a decade, they delivered tens of thousands of pounds of clothing, furniture, and household goods, ending only when age kept them from the activity. Their efforts were written up in the Congressional Record in 2002. Gene leaves behind his sister Joan Rosenberg; loving wife Poco; the four kids he had with Susan (JJ, Dave, Nat, and Brie Gertler) and their spouses (Judy Bradt, Sue Kost, Lara Gertler, and Marty Porush, respectively); stepdaughter Sunshine; and various grandchildren, stepgrandchildren, and stepgreat-grandchildren.
His memoirs can be read at gene.gertler.com In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to Diné College.