The Rev. Stephen Paul Gerhard, 65, a Lutheran pastor, died Friday in Winston-Salem, his home for the past 16 years. He was born November 13, 1945 in Woodberry, NJ, but lived most of his young life in Penn Hills, PA, where his father, Paul, was founding pastor of Zion Lutheran Church. He graduated from Thiel College in Greenville, PA, where he met his wife of 42 years, Barbara Jeanne Foreman Gerhard.
Pastor Gerhard received his Master of Divinity from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia and a Master of Theology from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He served his internship (during which time he became the church’s full-time pastor) at Lord God of Sabaoth Lutheran Church in Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI. After being ordained in the Western Pennsylvania/West Virginia Synod in 1971, he served at Messiah Lutheran Church in Moundsville, WV, then moved to Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Raleigh, where he was designated a pastor emeritus on May 31, 2009. Pastor Gerhard retired from Lutheran Church of the Epiphany in Winston-Salem in June 2008, then became capital campaign director of the Lutheran Services for the Aging for the North Carolina Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America until March of this year.
Dedicated to his calling to serve, Pastor Gerhard also held various other church-related positions, including those on the Lenoir-Rhyne College (now University) board of trustees, the North Carolina Synod Council, the board of directors of Urban Ministries of Wake County (where he was the first chairman), the NC State University Cooperative Campus Ministry (chairman), the board of Lutheran Family Services in the Carolinas (chair), and various North Carolina Synod committees. In addition, he was campus pastor to Lutheran students at North Carolina State University and Wake Forest University. Among his many other volunteer activities, he developed the Meals on Wheels program in Moundsville, WV, and worked with the Red Cross and Samaritan Ministries. His life was one of service offering wisdom, compassion, and grace to all he met.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Christopher Paul Gerhard (and wife Nicole Rae Krupa Gerhard) of Winchester, VA; a daughter, Meredith Courtney Gerhard West (and husband Dr. Joey West) of Gainesville, GA; two grandchildren, Anna Courtney West and Miller Brooks Gerhard; and a sister, Karen Gerhard Ernst (and husband Rev. Matthew Ernst) of Ocean Isle Beach. He was preceded in death by his parents, the Rev. Dr. H. Paul Gerhard and Helen Münch Gerhard.
A memorial service will be conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 28, 2011 at Augsburg Lutheran Church in Winston-Salem, with Rev. Dr. Leonard Bolick, Rev. Dr. Ronald Rinn, Rev. Ray Mohrman, Rev. Laura Wind, and Rev. Gordon Simmons officiating. The family will receive friends at the church following the service. A committal service will be conducted at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 29, 2011 at Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Raleigh, with Rev. Dr. Royall Yount, Jr. officiating. The family requests that memorials be made to a charity of the donor’s choice. (Hayworth-Miller Silas Creek Chapel)