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Rev. Gerhart Becker

Dec. 10, 1919-Dec. 2, 2012

Former Ponsford and Fertile resident Rev. Gerhart M.F. Becker, 92, of Erskine, went to be with his Lord on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at the Pioneer Memorial Care Center in Erskine.

The Carlin-Hoialmen Funeral Home of Fosston assisted the family with arrangements.

Gerhart was born to George Flindt and Agnes Mueller Becker on December 10, 1919, in Brooklyn, New York. He worked as a drydock hand for Bethlehem Steel Co. in Hoboken, N.J., before joining the United States Marine Corps. He served as an infantry radio operator (voice/Morse code) in the 5th Marine Division (Iwo Jima Campaign) and in the 2nd Marine Division (troops occupying Japan).

Following his military service, Gerhart graduated from Augustana College, Sioux Falls, S.D. (1950), and Bethany Lutheran Seminary, Mankato, Minn. (1953). Gerhart fell in love with Catherine Helen Ranzau and they were married in August 1953. Following Gerhart's ordination as a Lutheran pastor in October, 1953, they travelled to Nigeria, British West Africa, where they served as missionaries for three years.

Gerhart's work in Nigeria involved supervision of 15 schools, visiting pastor to 22 churches, daily travel by auto on rustic local roads covering the 450 square miles in his district.

After returning to the United States, Gerhart served as pastor of several churches in Iowa and southern Minnesota before accepting the call to serve as pastor at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Ponsford, and Mount Olive Lutheran Church, Detroit Lakes, for 12 years.

Gerhart was appointed Postmaster for the Ponsford post office in 1972 and later retired after more than 20 years of service. His wife Catherine ("Cay") passed on to Heaven in June, 1988.

Gerhart met and married Claris Helm in 1990. They lived in the Becker family home in Ponsford for several years before moving to Fertile and later, to Erskine. Claris passed on in June 2006. Gerhart checked himself into the Pioneer Memorial Care Center in June 2006.

Gerhart will be lovingly remembered by his 10 children, Mark of Rochester, Janet (Bryan) of Shoreview, Matthew of Cottage Grove, Miles of Erskine, Monrud (Jim) of Brighton, Mass., Julie of Lytle, Texas, Max of Phoenix, Ariz., Jennifer (Paul) of Plymouth, Joan (Ken) of Park Rapids and Martin of Pleasanton, Calif.; as well as 10 grandchildren and step-grandchildren.

Gerhart donated his body to the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences. There will be a family celebration of Gerhart's life during the summer of 2013.