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Zelma (Kirby) Gerhard

Obituary for Zelma (Kirby) Gerhard

October 20, 1921 - July 9, 2016
Langhorne, Pennsylvania | Age 94


Zelma Gerhard (née Kirby), of Langhorne, PA died peacefully on Saturday, July 9, 2016 while in hospice care at Chandler Hall, Newtown, PA. She was 94 years old.

Zelma is survived by her two sons, Richard W. Gerhard (Linda) of Newtown, PA and Edward K. Gerhard (Barbara) of Langhorne, PA; her five grandchildren, Kimberly Gerhard-McClay (Anthony), Matthew T. Gerhard (Brianne), and Brian R. Gerhard (Laura), all of Newtown, PA; Edward H. Gerhard (Laura Jean) of Langhorne, PA, and Rebecca C. Gerhard-Shivers (Steve) of Brandon, FL; two great-grandsons, Joseph A. McClay and Jacob R. Gerhard, both of Newtown, PA; her sister Clarine Barton of Newport News, VA; her brother Royce Kirby of Elizabeth City, NC; and her sister-in-law Jane Focht of Harleysville, PA. She is survived by numerous nieces and nephews, as well as a whole host of close friends. She is preceded in death by her husband, Edward R. Gerhard of Langhorne, PA; her grandson, Jonathan G. Gerhard of Langhorne, PA; her parents Grant A. and Lina Kirby of Elizabeth City, NC; and her brother Calvin Kirby of Elizabeth City, NC.

Zelma was born on October 20, 1921 in Elizabeth City, NC to Grant Addison and Lina (née Salter) Kirby. She was the eldest of four siblings, graduating from Elizabeth City High School as the salutatorian. While immensely qualified for higher education, her parents could not afford to send Zelma to college despite a partial scholarship. Life was hard during the Great Depression. Looking forward, Zelma was able to focus all of her energies excelling in the workplace. Her WWII employment brought her into contact with her boss, the love of her life and future husband, Edward R. Gerhard of Philadelphia, PA. They were married on March 18, 1945, spending 46 years together until his death in August 1991. Zelma's love for her family, friends, faith, and community was expressed by the immaculate household that she kept, the delicious food that she taught herself to prepare, her role as a Sunday school teacher, her Christian witness to all she encountered, and her volunteer work with various women's groups. When her two boys were grown, she began a 20-year career in finance at Educational Testing Services (ETS) in Princeton, NJ, retiring in 1985.

Relatives and friends are invited to Zelma's Life Celebration on Thursday, July 14, 2016, beginning at 9:00 AM at the First Baptist Church of Morrisville, 50 North Pennsylvania Avenue, Morrisville, PA 19067, followed by her Funeral Service at 10:00 AM. Burial will be in the Middletown Friends Meeting Cemetery, 453 West Maple Avenue, Langhorne, PA.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial gift in Zelma's name to First Baptist Church of Morrisville would be appreciated.

Family service by Dunn-Givnish of Langhorne 1-800-GIVNISH.

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Suggested Memorial Donations

  • A memorial gift in Zelma's name to First Baptist Church of Morrisville

Arrangements By

Dunn-Givnish Funeral Home

378 South Bellevue Avenue
Langhorne, PA 19047
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