Lawrence E. Gerstner, Sr., age 94, passed away on Monday, May 18, 2020. He was the first of two children born to Otto and Alta Gerstner in Lyndon, Kansas. He had a younger brother, Eugene. Both his parents and brother preceded him in death. He was also preceded in death by his wife of 37 years, Martha Shepherd, and also his first wife, Joan Akers.
Lawrence grew up in the Lyndon and Miller areas of Kansas, and graduated from Miller High School in 1944. Upon graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in May 1944 and reported to Camp Green Bay, Wisconsin for training. In August, he was sent to Treasure Island, California for transfer to the Pacific Area on the USS Boise. He participated in the Liberation of Philippines Campaign, five major amphibious operations, earned three battle stars, and a group commendation from General Douglas McArthur when he accompanied the USS Boise and many other military support craft and personnel in retaking Corregidor Island. Lawrence was honorably discharged from the Navy in August 1946.
When he returned home, Lawrence attended the Brown-Mackie Business School in Salina, Kansas. He worked in various management positions with J.C. Penney and S.H. Kress in Emporia, Kansas and Ponca City, Oklahoma. He worked for the majority of his career for Prudential Insurance Company in the Highland Park area of Topeka from 1956 until his retirement in 1984. He then became a self-employed insurance broker with his wife, Martha, for L&M Associates.
Lawrence had a good sense of humor, which has been passed on to some of his family. One of his favorite sayings was, “it’s clean livin”. Small or large victories, even a coveted parking spot, were attributed to “clean livin”.
He is survived by his children: Lawrence Gerstner, Jr. (MaryLyn), Topeka, Kansas; Debbie Andriessen (Roel), Sioux City, Iowa; Brenda Schweer (Ron), Lawrence, Kansas; Donna Parker, Wesley Chapel, Florida, and Colleen Timberlake (Brian), Olathe, Kansas. He is also survived by seven grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
Funeral services will be at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, May 22, 2020 at the Dove Southwest Chapel, 3700 SW Wanamaker Road, Topeka. The family will greet friends and family one hour prior to the service. Burial will follow at 1:00 p.m. at the Pleasant Ridge Cemetery in Admire, Kansas.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Lawrence’s name to the Crestview United Methodist Church in Topeka, or the Topeka Rescue Mission.
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