American Patriotic 10

Gregory Gerling

May 8, 1946 ~ January 28, 2024 (age 77) 77 Years Old

Gregory Gerling Obituary

“Hey there, Mister!”

Greg Gerling was one of a kind. He passed away on Sunday, January 28, 2024 at McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital in Petoskey, Michigan.

He was funny, handsome, rugged and charming. Greg lived on his terms and for those of you who know him, he probably told you exactly what he thought. If you cared for fishing, skiing, the Boyne Mountain Halfway House warming hut, or Detroit sports then he wanted to talk to you.

He was born and raised in the Detroit area by his parents Lorraine Estelle Bayer/Gerling and Andrew John Gerling. He attended De La Salle high school before joining the United States Marine Corps. He trained to become a firefighter and retired from the City of Detroit fire department.

His outdoor passions led him from metro Detroit to Grayling’s north woods for the famed trout holy water of the Au Sable River. Later he moved to Boyne City minutes away from Lake Michigan, Walloon Lake, Lake Charlevoix, and Boyne Mountain.

He was proud of his grandchildren and daughters, especially their ski racing careers. Andrea (Dave) Nemes has sons Will and Graham. Meghann (Dylan) Valade has Chloe, Ava and Max.

Greg is survived by his twin brother Steve (Carol), sister Susan (Steve), and preceded in death by brother Andy (Karen). He was proud of nieces’ and nephews’ many athletic accomplishments.

Greg died peacefully at Northern Michigan Hospital in Petoskey. He didn’t fear diagnoses that might break the average person, besting heart attacks in his 50’s, a stroke in his 60’s and cancer in his 70’s. After each bump he stood up, dusted off, adjusted to his new reality and got back to living. The final straw was no single issue but the result of a life lived and a body that was ready for permanent rest.

We can learn a lot from Greg.

His active and social life kept him going. He didn’t dwell on the past, always looking forward to the water or a morning chairlift. He liked to get out early before the crowds to cut turns in fresh snow and stoke a cooking fire for chili or venison.

People valued his friendship and stuck with him through good times and bad, showing up after years when he needed help. There are too many people to name but you know who you are and thank you!

His butcher block kitchen table is a fly tying bench featuring his last fly. A vise still pinches a mid-sized barbed hook wrapped with dark thread and soft brown hackle. Those who have also waded Montana and Michigan rivers understand the artistry and confidence required to tie your own flies and use them to land fish. In front of his washing machine you’ll find a ski tuning shop with wax, files and sharp shiny edges on multiple pair of Rossignols. Hopefully he is the last person to keep a small deer rifle and bird hunting shotgun unsecured in his living room. Carpentry tools are organized and featured prominently, ready to help friends with a remodel or repair. His attic is a trove of various weighted fly rods. It will be a pleasure to share his treasures with others who can continue his legacy.

Greg’s calendar was seasonal. His daily schedule guided by weather and football games. He wasn’t known for sending cards on special occasions but he was thinking about all of us in his own way. Photos of big fish, sunny ski days, daughters’ weddings and grandchildren are hung in small frames or secured with magnets to the refrigerator.

To balance his congeniality, he could be difficult. In his blunt, colorful tone he recently said “I don’t know what happened. I went to bed as Greg Gerling and woke up as Greg the A—hole.” We will never know which morning or decade he was thinking of but since his stroke he’s been more relaxed. He made an effort to take his grandchildren fishing and helped his daughters fix up their first houses. Maybe this is the version of himself he preferred and missed. Life is short. We all make mistakes. Don’t wait to set things right.

Winter came late this season and Greg didn’t ski for the first year in recorded history. While his health declined he stayed indoors and was finally rewarded as a dedicated Michigan sports fan watching the Wolverines championship football team and the first Lions playoff run in over 30 years.

A gathering of family and friends will take place from 1:00 to 4:00 PM Friday, February 2, 2024 at Stackus Funeral Home in Boyne City. 

Arrangements are in the care of Stackus Funeral Home.

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Gathering of Family and Friends
February 2, 2024

1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Stackus Funeral Home
417 Elm Street
Boyne City, MI 49712


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