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On losing a parent

Recently, my mom, siblings and I lost a beloved husband and father. It was a difficult time for us. He fought aggressive metastatic prostate cancer for 18 months before he died on June 4th of this year. Gerald Kay Gehring was one of the best of men, with a few faults and flaws, but mostly he was an extraordinary example of generosity and love. At his funeral, one of my cousins characterized him by saying that, "still waters run deep." I've thought about that phrase a lot over the last few weeks and I've come to realize that I'd rather be still and deep than shallow and make a lot of noise. To that end, I'd like to publish the incredible eulogy that my brother, Gunnar wrote along with the obituary that was published in the Tacoma News Tribune, below.

We didn't expect to lose our Dad so soon. He was healthy and active and full of grace and purpose. I've thought about how hard it was to lose him slowly, over the course of months, rather than suddenly, and I think either way, the emotional toll is exhausting and brutal.

One piece of advice that has helped me and my family to cope is that it's okay to set boundaries--to heal, rest and grieve. It's a time to give yourself and your family a "pass." Losing Dad has been a sacred time to remember wonderful moments and readjust to a new way of life and new relationships without him.


Gerald Kay Gehring lost his battle with cancer on June 4th, 2021. He passed away at home, surrounded by family. Gerald was born on June 21, 1943 in Salt Lake City, Utah to Corris, née Burbidge, and Walter Gehring. Gerald grew up with an older brother, Brent and a younger sister, Carol Jean. Gerald moved to University Place when he was 12. Gerald attended Curtis Junior High and Wilson High School. Gerald and Rebecca Dickson became high school sweethearts attended Brigham Young University and married in 1964. Gerald worked for his grandfather-in-law at Lige Dickson Company for a time. In 1977, Gerald and his partner, Gwynn Dickson, founded Puget Paving where he worked until his retirement in 2011. Gerald had many interests and hobbies including playing the bagpipes with the Tacoma Scots and Clan Gordon. Gerald was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served faithfully as a teacher and bishop and after his retirement, a missionary in the London South mission. Gerald loved watching the Rainiers, the Mariners, and the Seahawks. He loved to travel, play golf and work in the yard. Gerald served on the University Place city council for 12 years and as mayor for 2. Most of all, Gerald was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather. He is survived by his sister, Carol Jean Gardner (Steve); his wife, Becky; his children Gretchen Seamons (Brett), Jake (Tina), Paula Riordan (Dave), Gunnar (Laura), Stefan (Molly); his grandchildren, Mary Alvarado (Isaac), Clara, Sam, Gus, Danielle, Gabrielle, Elijah, Jon, Ginelle, Zach, Hartman, Adam, Isaac, Elsie, Charlotte, Lydia, Violet, Greta, Lana, and Stefan; and his first great-grandchild, Diana.


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