Christian Education

Reverend Larry W. Gerdes | obituary

Larry W. Gerdes, 79 of Hornell, NY was called home to be with the Lord on Sunday, February 27, 2022 at Highlands at Brighton in Rochester, NY. He was born on February 26, 1943 in Ponca, NE, the son of the late George William and the late Minnie (Panhorst) Gerdes.
On June 6, 1987, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Wellsville, he married his wife of 34 years, Deborah Collins, who survives.
Larry grew up in Nebraska until his family moved to Bergholtz, NY. He began his undergraduate studies at Concordia University in Nebraska, where he earned his teaching degree. In 1973 he moved with his family to Wellsville before moving to Depew, NY, where he was able to complete his education at Concordia Seminary in St. Catherine’s, Ontario. He followed where his faith called him and led several Lutheran churches during his career, sharing his faith with so many people. While at Trinity Lutheran, he served as Director of Christian Education. He also maintained a parsonage at St. Luke’s in Cheektowaga, until his ordination on June 6, 1982. He began his calling as a Lutheran minister at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Ridgewood, NY. In 1988 he accepted a call to St. Paul’s Lutheran in Columbia, PA. In 1993 he accepted a call to Grace Lutheran of Sylvan Beach, NY. Then, in 1996, he moved to St. John’s Lutheran in Munson, Pennsylvania, before ending his pastoral career at St. Mark’s Lutheran in West Henrietta, NY, in 2003, retiring in 2008.
His ministry was not limited to his career alone. He was a member of the Wellsville Ministerium, volunteered for Hornell’s Salvation Army, delivered meals on wheels for Steuben County, volunteered for the Wellsville Fire Department and loved parking cars for Penn State football games.
In addition to his wife Debbie, our beloved Bill fan, Yankees fan and “outstanding” golfer and bowler is survived by children, Scott (Michelle) Gerdes of Gasport, Lisa (Paul) Lane of Avon, Katie Gerdes of Middleport, Matthew (Tabitha) Heller of Hornell, Tracey Thomas of Canandaigua, Craig (Janice Philips) Heller of Hornell, and Kurt Thomas of Seneca Castle; eight grandchildren, Evan Gerdes, Sofia Gerdes, Kassy Heller, Cory Heller, Tyler Phillips, Moriah (Darren) Pollen, Jackson Lane and Nora Lane; as well as many beloved in-laws, nieces and nephews, and his extended family in Highlands B Wing in Brighton, who cared for and loved Larry as if he were their own. He was predeceased by his parents; and a brother, Wayne Gerdes.
Friends are invited to call Saturday, March 12, 2022 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, 470 N. Main Street, Wellsville, NY. His celebration of life will follow in the church with a 1 p.m. service presided over by Rev. Dr. Eric Ash Sr.
Please consider memorial donations to Meals on Wheels or Trinity Lutheran Church in Wellsville.
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Published on March 2, 2022