William John "Bill" Gerhardt MD, age 91, beloved pediatrician of Westwood, Cincinnati, OH, passed peacefully from this life on Wednesday February 5, 2020 into eternal life at Twin Towers Senior Living Community. Dr. Gerhardt was born in Cincinnati, OH June 30, 1928, the first child of William Jacob Gerhardt and Eleonora Gerhardt (nee Yalen). He was preceded in death by his parents, his only brother John Y. Gerhardt, and his devoted and supportive wife of 56 years, Ruth Mae Gerhardt (nee Moak). Devoted father of David W. (Jody) of Flat Rock, NC, Richard P. (Dawn) of Madras, OR, Timothy D. (Annamarie Borich) of Cincinnati, OH, loving grandfather of Braden (Kasi), Andrew (Kim), Nathan (Nuka), Jasper (Tayler), Aurora and Willow, loving great grandfather of Hadley, Hollis, Celestine and Didier and uncle of Jill Orobello, John Gerhardt (Monica) and Dan Moak (Jennifer).
“Doctor Bill,” a native of Western Hills, went to Westwood Elementary School and graduated from Western Hills High School where he lettered in basketball and tennis and was president of the Latin Club. He received his pre-med degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1950 and his MD from UC’s College of Medicine in 1954, where he was class president. He served two years in the United States Air Force at Ent Air Force Base in Colorado where he was a Captain in the 615th Infirmary Medical Corps. He completed his Pediatric Residency at Columbus Children’s Hospital and was Chief Resident in 1960.
He served as a community pediatrician at Westside Pediatrics for over 38 years in the Western Hills Community of Cincinnati, where he cared for 7,581 newborns, including two sets of quadruplets at the same time, and spent his entire career, and the rest of his life, as an advocate for children in the community, the Church and in the medical profession. He experienced great joy and deep satisfaction in having his early clientele as classmates, friends and neighbors, and then having their children, his patients, grow up, marry and later bring their own children.
In addition to his pediatric practice he was an attending pediatrician at Children’s Hospital Medical Center from 1960-1998 and was president of the Medical and Dental Staff in 1978. He served as Acting Medical Director of the Convalescent Hospital for Children from 1960-61 and was Director of Pediatrics at Christ Hospital from 1981-1990. He served on the Cincinnati Pediatric Society Executive Council and was president in 1979. He was a preceptor for residents, medical students, pre-meds, and nursing students. He was appointed Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at UC College of Medicine in 1980, as a volunteer, now emeritus.
As volunteer Historian of the Children’s Hospital Medical Center and as a member of the Staff Bulletin editorial committee for over three decades, he wrote articles about faculty and staff and the rich heritage of the hospital each month. He founded and directed the Mitchell-Nelson Library which helps tell the story of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. The library holds a treasure trove of books, papers, artwork, old medical equipment and even Albert Sabin’s desk. Under his guidance the historic timeline of eleven decades of historic milestones and the Gail Englender Infant Feeder display were accomplished. He devoted 10 years to researching and writing a book on the history of Children’s Hospital, with emphasis on the Edward L. Pratt 1963-1979 era, which was published in 1999. He was also founder and director of the Cincinnati Pediatric Society’s Hall of Honor.
In the community, he served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the City Gospel Mission in Over-the-Rhine for 26 years, the Cincinnati Crises Pregnancy Center for 10 years, the Board of Directors of the Children’s Discovery Center in the Natural History Museum 5 years and on the Advisory Boards of Citizens for Community Values, and Cincinnati Teen Challenge Advisory Board and Family Counseling Services and on the Youth Services Advisory Board of Juvenile Court. He was one of two delegates for Hamilton County to the 1979 White House Conference on Families, one of the team physicians for football, basketball and soccer at Western Hills HS for 16 years, and a merit badge counselor for the Boy Scouts for over 20 years. He served on the Board of Directors Association of Western Hills Athletic Alumni and authored the Western Hills High School History for their 75th anniversary.
He was an active member of Cheviot-Westwood Kiwanis for 56 years, with perfect attendance for 49 years, served on the Board of Directors, was President in 1971, served as Youth Committee Chairman, Program Chair and Historian for many years and wrote the history of Cheviot-Westwood Kiwanis for their Golden Anniversary in 1987. In recognition of his service to the community, he was named Cheviot-Westwood Kiwanis Club’s “Citizen of the Year” in 1987 and received further recognition in 1994 when he was selected as Grand Marshal of the Harvest Home Parade when the theme was “Family Values.”
Dr. Gerhardt was most recently a member of Evangelical Community Church where he served as a Ruling Elder and organized the annual Men’s Retreat. In the wider church and Christian community, because of his Hippocratic conviction of the sanctity of human life, he served as Chairman of the Resource Center for Alternatives to Abortion, as Chairman of the Cincinnati Presbytery Pro-Life Committee, and as a member of the national Presbyterian Pro-Life Board of Directors for one year. For 36 years he was the leader and convener of the 6:30 AM Friday Morning Men's Bible Study. He served as Chairman of the Greater Cincinnati Young Life Committee in the 70s and for five years was the lay Vice-Chairman of the Billy Graham Tri-State Crusade held in Cincinnati in 1977. In fact, during this time, he gave Mr. Graham his yellow fever inoculation before Mr. Graham went to India.
Doctor Bill enjoyed speaking and teaching and his favorite talks were
“The Health of the Presidents” and “The Spiritual History of the United States.” In 1990 he received the Cincinnati Pediatric Society’s Recognition Award for distinguished contribution to the health, interest, and welfare of the children in our community. In 1992 he received the Maroon Award from Western hills High School as the outstanding alumnus. In 1999 he received the University of Cincinnati’s College of Medicine Distinguished Alumni Award. In 2001 he received the Cincinnati Academy of Medicine Daniel Drake Humanitarian Award, given to a living physician who displays a history of outstanding selflessness and dedication to the needs of others and has made humanitarian contributions to medicine and the community.
In 2005 he was inducted in to the Western Hills High School Athletic Hall of Honor. In 2010 he was nominated by the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center for “his tireless efforts toward preserving the heritage of Cincinnati Children’s for the last 30 years, and for his countless hours of other volunteer community service” to receive the prestigious Jefferson Award that recognizes individuals for acts of outstanding public service. On June 4, 2019 a plaque was unveiled in the Mitchell-Nelson History Library at Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center, formally dedicating the library contents as the “William J. Gerhardt Research Collection.”
Dr. Gerhardt brought honor and distinction to his profession, his community, his church and ultimately, to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Visitation Saturday, February 22, 2020, 9:30-10:30 A.M. at the Evangelical Community church, 2191 Struble Rd., Cinti. 45231, followed by a Memorial Service at 10:30 A.M. Reception following at the church.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Evangelical Community Church 2192 Springdale Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45231; City Gospel Mission, 1805 Dalton Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45214 or Life Forward Pregnancy Care of Cincinnati, 2415 Auburn Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45219.