Donald Gerlach

Donald "Don" Gerlach

Wednesday, January 22nd, 1936 - Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020
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Donald Gerlach, 84, died unexpectedly at his residence on April 22nd, 2020.

Donald is survived by his wife, Shirley (Dinges) Gerlach; his children, Karen (Kim) Baiers, Donna (Mark) Hill, Kurt (Christine) Gerlach; his siblings, Dale (Bonnie) Gerlach, Ruth Smith; his granchildren, Grant (Andrea) Baiers, Chase (Julie) Baiers, Rebecca Baiers, Emily Baiers, Mark (Kala) Hill, Nicole (Josh) Buyce, Kiel Gerlach, Zachary Gerlach, Jordan Gerlach, Grace Gerlach, Brooke Gerlach, Paige Gerlach, Brock Gerlach; and his great-grandchildren, Landon & Henry Baiers, Grayson & Cooper Baiers, Nolan Hill, Collin & Claire Buyce. He is preceded in death by his parents, Martin and Frieda (Froehlich) Gerlach, and his son, David Gerlach.

Donald was born in St. Joseph, MI on January 22nd, 1936. He graduated from Berrien Springs High School in 1954. On May 24th, 1958 he married Shirley Dinges. After high school he proudly served in the US Army stationed in South Korea until 1957. In 2018 he returned to South Korea with a group of Korean veterans who were honored for their service.

Donald farmed all of his life on the family farm where he grew up. He also worked for Clark Equipment in Buchanan for 17 years and retired from Gast Manufacturing. He was an active member of Grace Lutheran Church in St. Joseph MI where served as usher and sang in the choir group for many years. He loved being outdoors in the fresh air and enjoyed farming, hunting and fishing.

Donald was a very passionate individual in all areas of his life including family, hobbies such as woodworking and wine making, and politics. He enjoyed talking with people and never rushed a conversation.
A private service and burial with family will be held on April 27th. There will be a gathering with family and friends at a later date to be determined. Those wishing to sign Donald’s Memory Book online may do so at

Memorial contributions: Grace Lutheran Church or Michigan Lutheran Athletic Dept.

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Service Details

  • Service

    Grace Lutheran Church - St. Joseph
    404 E. Glenlord Rd.
    St. Joseph, MI 49085
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Private Family Services will be held with a public service to be announced at a later date. Donations in Don's name may be made to Grace Lutheran Church or Michigan Lutheran Athletic Department. Don's family service may be viewed on Tuesday at his page at


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Allan Herman

Posted at 02:14pm
Shirley and family – we were so sorry to hear the news of Don’s passing. It was an honor to be with him on the Korea re-visit trip in 2018. You can see joy in Don in the photos I posted in the Photos and Videos section.

God Bless…
Allan and Rhonda Herman

Paul Antonowitsch

Posted at 08:03pm
Gerlach Family - So sorry for your loss. I have fond memories of hunting and trapping at the fruit orchards with David and Kurt. Usually Don was busy in his lift wagon triming the fruit trees and he would always love to joke around with us. As boys we had a lot fun with firing off his home made cannon and I also remember that he even grilled a raccoon for us us boys to sample. Don, Shirley & Kurt were always there for us when my father and my brother passed away and we appreciate all the support. With kind memories from the Antonowitsch family.

Terri Herman Springman

Posted at 12:44pm
Dear Shirley and Family. I am saddened by the news of Don’s death and also at the inability to pay my respects to my Godfather at this time. He was a presence in my life, especially the early years, and his absence in my world will be felt. Love to you all, in Jesus’ name, Terri Herman Springman.

Theresa kuntz

Posted at 09:46pm
I just had the pleasure of meeting Don and Shirley in March when we attended his Granddaughter's graduation from Marine bootcamp. I was able to spend a few days with him and his family. A few things were evident in that short time...he lived a good life, worked hard, enjoyed sharing his stories, and loved his family. I'm sure he'll be missed by many.

Sharon McCartney

Posted at 03:28pm
Shirley and family, I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you at this time. Sending you prayers and strength during this difficult time and for the days ahead.

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