Gary Erhard was born March 4, 1937 in Royal Oak, MI to John and Dorothy (Evans) Erhard. He was the second of four children. The whole family helped in the big garden, Gary rode motor bikes and had a paper route. The family spent summer vacations at a lake or at Saginaw Bay. He graduated from Southfield High and in the summer of 1953 met Pat, who lived near one of his friends. They married in 1957.
Gary worked for a civil engineering firm till he was drafted in 1960. He served in the US Army stationed for two years in San Antonio, TX. While in Texas they made many lasting friendships with “Army Buddies” and wives enjoying camping on Padre Island and in the hill country. Gary restored a Model A Ford which started a life-long interest in classic cars.
In transitioning to civilian life, they planned an 8-week, 10,000-mile trip all over the west and Northwest, ending up in Berrien Springs where Gary enrolled at Andrews University. He worked part-time for Wightman civil engineering, played and studied, finishing with a BS in Business. Andrews hired him as Office Manager at College Wood Products where he developed a retail factory outlet. Pat stayed home with Cheryl and Kendall and sold bedding out of their garage. In 1973 he left CWP and started a furniture and carpet business.
Gary traveled to Georgia to pick up carpet, and then people started asking him to move their households to different places. Thus, Erhard Moving was added to provide Gary with, as he called it, “A Paid Vacation.” Only when we get to Heaven will we know how many times Gary and probably other people were saved from an accident. The following is a quote from David, one of the Bulgarian young men who helped at the store and went on some of Gary’s moving trips: “Oh, I was thinking about him these days and you all. I was hoping to see him again soon. It was so much fun around him. I waited for him to come back to the store from his trips…everything changed once he stepped in, from very quiet and gloomy, to very noisy and colorful, and fun, fun, fun (sometimes too much of all that), but real fun for sure! Once, we were in Florida in a gas station he started talking to people, one older couple, then another...soon there were 10-15 people listening to his stories and having so much fun (we were in a hurry, of course). He didn’t want to spend more than 10 minutes there, but we spent a good 45, if not more. Once, he just arrived from a long, long trip, parked the truck close to the house and jumped onto the lawn mower. From one to the other immediately, no water, no food, no resting, no nothing. Oh boy, at the time I thought it was crazy. I couldn’t believe my eyes...he was like 66...but full of energy and I am thinking now proud of ownership and taking care of the house was playing too, maybe. I loved being around the table with you all at the lake house for 4th of July or Memorial/Labor Day weekend. Gary was so happy to have everyone and of course, do the dishes at the end. There are so many other fun and not so fun things that I remember, but Gary was Gary, can’t mistake him for someone else, absolute original, not possible to copy or replace him! So much energy and so much fun.”
The family loved camping, boating, water skiing, jet skiing and traveling to Florida, or the West, especially Colorado, Arizona and California and to Niagara, DC, and New York. Gary, Pat, and Kendall started mission trips with Andrews Academy, first to Mexico, and then Gary and Pat every other year for many years to Central America, Venezuela, Peru, and Tanzania. Gary loved making friends with the people, eating in their homes and later, keeping in touch. We look forward to meeting them when Jesus comes.
The last two months, Gary suffered with Congestive Heart Failure, and was hospitalized for 8 days in June. We thought he was gradually improving and were able to meet friends in South Haven to watch boat traffic on the river and enjoyed a delicious picnic. He wasn’t well enough to drive the 31 Chevy in the 4th of July parade, but were able to watch in our car. On Tuesday, July 12, he felt down and was really uncomfortable and a friend helped him decide to go the ER that evening. On Wednesday evening, we had a nice goodnight kiss with “I love you.” Gary passed to his rest early Thursday morning, July 14, 2022.
Gary is survived by his wife of almost 65 years, Pat (Caldwell) Erhard; sister, June Edwards; brother, Peter (MyLuoc) Erhard; sister, Sharon (William) Guth; daughter, Cheryl (Sergei) Polishchuk; son, Kendall Erhard; grandchildren, Justin Hord, Macie (Robert) Wagner, Austin Elliott, Carlie Elliott, Sasha Polishchuk and Oliver Polishchuk; six great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
His memorial service is Sunday, July 24, 2022, at 1 PM. Visitation Noon to 1 PM at Pioneer Memorial Church on the campus of Andrews University, Berrien Springs. The family is being served by Allred Funeral Home. www.allredfuneralhome.com
Even so, come, Lord Jesus.