John Lester Gerwig, 92, of Whispering Pines, NC died on April 24, 2020 at home.
Gerwig was born in Chapel, West Virginia to the late Jay C. Gerwig and Pearl Perkins Gerwig. He earned a B.S. Degree in Agronomy and a M.S. in Soils from West Virginia University and his Ph.D. in Agronomy from Rutgers University.
Gerwig grew up on a livestock farm in West Virginia and while studying for his Masters Degree taught vocational agriculture and managed a dairy farm in Uniontown, PA. From 1952 to 1956 he was on the teaching and research faculty at Rutgers University while studying for his doctorate degree. In 1956 he was appointed Extension Specialist in Agronomy for Rutgers Cooperative Extension. In 1962 he was appointed Dean and Director of Rutgers Cooperative Extension, a position he held until his retirement in 1992. At the time of his retirement as Professor Emeritus he was the longest serving Director of Extension in the Country. He was also a veteran of the US Army Air Force.
Gerwig received numerous achievement awards during his lifetime one of which was the Rutgers University Award which is the highest award given by Rutgers and given to a very limited number of recipients.
He moved to Whispering Pines in 1996. He was an excellent golfer and at one point in his golfing career won two Club Championships in one day from two different clubs. As his golfing buddies would attest, he was an outstanding chipper and putter. Also an avid gardener, in addition to his own extensive garden in Whispering Pines, for 15 years he wrote a monthly article called, “Tips for the Gardener” for The Pitch, a community paper published in Whispering Pines.
Gerwig married Margie Lee McClung in 1949 and they had four children. She predeceased him in 1985. He was also preceded in death by his parents, brother Ivan who was killed in World War II, brother George, and sister Leo Gerwig Skidmore.
He is survived by his wife of 23 and a half years, Anne Sheelen Gerwig; son John Lynn Gerwig and his wife Janet of Beaver Falls, PA.; daughter Elizabeth Anne Gerwig Kilfoyle and her husband Thomas Kilfoyle of McDonough, GA.; daughter Carolyn Gerwig Wagenblast and her husband Thomas Wagenblast of Belmar, NJ and; Dr. William Gerwig of Pompano Beach, FL.; nine grandchildren, Brian Gerwig, Mark Gerwig, Allison Gerwig, Erin Kilfoyle, Daniel Kilfoyle, Brendan Kilfoyle, Thomas Wagenblast, Michael Wagenblast and Elle Gerwig; and, one great grandchild Jake Wagenblast; sister Thelma Gerwig Carr and her husband Bill Carr of Chapel, W.V. and sister Alma Gerwig Page of Red House, WV.
Memorial contributions may be made to The John and Anne Gerwig Director’s Endowment for Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Rutgers University Foundation, 7 College Ave, Winants Hall, New Brunswick, NJ 08901 or to First Health Hospice at 150 Applecross Rd. Pinehurst, NC 28374
Due to COVID 19 restrictions, a private family service was held at the Community Presbyterian Church, Pinehurst on Tuesday, April 28, 2020, with interment at Richmond Chapel Cemetery in Chapel, West Virginia.
Online condolences may be made to www.bolesfuneralhome.com.