Rev. Oscar Gerken, 1924-2013

Rev. Oscar Gerken

Rev. Oscar Gerken

Rev. Oscar Gerken, former senior pastor at Faith Lutheran Church in Eustis, was killed Monday when a pickup truck struck him as he crossed a busy boulevard near his religious retirement community in Oviedo.

The 89-year old Gerken served 14 years as senior pastor at Faith Lutheran Church in Eustis. He retired in 1991.

City Attorney Scott Gerken

City Attorney Scott Gerken

His son, Scott Gerken, has served as Fruitland Park City Attorney for more than 10 years.

An obituary by Eloísa Ruano González in The Orlando Sentinel described Gerken’s life of community service and religious fellowship:

Raised in Monroeville, Ind., a tiny farming community near the Ohio state line, Gerken graduated from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis and also received a doctor of ministry degree from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

It was while visiting one of his brothers who was a minister in St. Charles — a city just outside St. Louis — that he met his wife of 65 years, Tracy Gerken. She was a member of his brother’s church and also baby-sat the pastor’s son.

“Mom [initially] turned him down,” said Scott Gerken, 47. “She didn’t feel worthy to be a pastor’s wife.”

Before moving to Lake County in 1977, the elder Gerken founded and led several churches in the Midwest. In Central Florida, he helped establish a church near The Villages retiree haven northwest of Orlando, where he had often traveled to preach.

Harden/Pauli Funeral Home in Eustis, is handling arrangements.


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