Obituary – January 9, 2016

Urban C. Gerharz

Well-known Ajijic resident Urban C. Gerharz, 84, died of heart failure at a Guadalajara hospital on December 21, following a brief illness.

Born in Joliet, Illinois, Gerharz served proudly in the U.S. Air Force from 1951 until 1955, when he was honorably discharged with the rank of Sargent.

He was a funeral director for more than 40 years in Lemont, Illinois, where his family had established a prominent funeral home.

In his late 50s, Gerharz performed missionary work in several countries, including Guatemala, India, Germany and Mexico. 

A man of many talents, he was a self-taught pianist who enjoyed playing jazz, both Chicago- and New York-style. He moved to lakeside area 15 years ago, following his retirement.

An active member of AA for more than 40 years, Gerharz helped many others who battled with the affliction.

His many friends at Lakeside all speak of him in the same manner. They talk about his helping of those less fortunate and of his efforts to inspire people to live better lives. “To converse with him was wonderful, to know him was to live him,” said one friend.

Gerharz was previously married to Patricia Mae Ann (Barley) Gerharz, who preceded him in death in 2006.

His survivors include his wife Enedina Toscano Perez, whom he married in 2004, as well as two step daughters he helped raise: Imena and Melissa Ibarra Tosacano.

Gerharz is survived by six children: Eileen Prendergast (John), Diana Ruettiger, Kevin Gerharz (Terri), Tracy Pietrzyk (Edward), Glenn Gerharz (Armanda) and Cullen O’Mara. He also had eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held Thursday, January 20, 2 p.m. at the AA Club 12, Marcos Castellanos 51-A, Ajijic.