Our father, Gerhard “Gerry” Hiemer died November 26, 2023 (Parkinsons).  Our mom Josephine, his wife of 63 years was holding his hand as he passed.  

Gerry was born September 10 , 1932 to Edward and Elsie Hiemer.  From childhood, Gerry was a musician and an avid model railroader: a hobby that he would continue until arthritis thwarted him at age 88.  In 1950, Gerry joined the Army and was stationed with the ASA in Eritrea, Africa.  After 3 years’ service, he was honorably discharged.  In his 20s, Gerry raced motorcycles, got his pilot’s license, and apprenticed with his father at Hiemer & Company Stained Glass, in Clifton, NJ.  Gerry was a successful businessman, helping Hiemer & Company to create stained glass for over 1000 churches in the United States and around the world.  

Work did not define our father.  In 1972, after converting a 1965 Trailways 4106 bus, we hit the road.  From NJ to CA, from ME to FL, Gerry took us everywhere: 47 of the 48 contiguous United States.  He instilled a desire to travel in all of his children and grandchildren.

When life is condensed to a one page obituary, it is hard to capture the essence of a spirit  The take away for Gerry Hiemer should be, he was a good man; he was a devoted husband; he was a caring father; he was a life-long learner; and he was happy to be alive until his last breath.  His only regret in life would be leaving our mother prematurely after 63 years of marriage.  Missing him incredibly are Josephine Hiemer, his four daughters and their spouses: Judi and James Van Wie (Clifton, NJ), Clare and Tim Avery (Lakeland, FL), Linda HIemer and Jen Wallace (Bend, OR), and Rita and Ted Lammot (Blairsville, GA); and grandchildren Jeremy Closs, Jessica Van Wie, and Jane Van Wie.  In lieu of flowers, please sing a verse of “Cigarettes and Whiskey” in the key of G around a random campfire. (And for those wondering, North Dakota is the state the bus never went.)