Gary Berger Gehrig lived a life of dedication and excellence. His life pursuits were always met with the determination to excel and to make a difference in the world. He left a mark of excellence in his military career, in his architectural engineering and construction career, and in his beloved career of husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. He attributed his many successes in life to his faith in Jesus Christ and to his membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Gary was born on January 8, 1934, in Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania. As a young man he worked in his father’s ready-mix concrete company and he became acquainted with a civil engineer who lived across the street; that association led Gary into more than 60 years of involvement with industrial construction, architectural design, and vocational education, including more than twenty years as a professor of construction management at Colorado State University.
He received a Bachelor of architectural engineering degree, with honors, from Penn State University, and from the ROTC as a 2nd lieutenant with Distinguished Military Graduate honors.
Two weeks after graduation Gary married his childhood sweetheart, Elizabeth (Betsy) Moyer, on June 23, 1956. They were married for 63 years.
Their military career included engineer officers training, rotary wing and fixed wing flight school, and 13 months as a helicopter pilot in Korea and in the Colorado Army National Guard. He retired after 20-years of military service at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Gary left active military life to pursue his architectural career. His first position was as a structural engineer for Rod Gomez and Associates in Tucson, Arizona. His career continued with a move to Colorado as a structural engineer for KKBNA. His achievements include the McNichols Arena, Mile High Stadium, Channel 7 Building, and the Observation Deck on Pikes Peak. His next job was with Hyder Construction giving him experience with a small general contractor firm. They did buildings in Vail, Steamboat and Aspen. During that time, he taught as an adjunct at Metropolitan State University which sparked his interest in full time teaching.
He received an MBA from the University of Colorado in 1970, and in 1976 his desire to give back to the fields of architecture and construction management led him to his position at Colorado State University. He completed a PhD in vocational education at CSU in 1985.
His contributions as the coordinator of various programs in an ever-changing academic unit helped define and establish the Department of Construction Management at Colorado State University in its current form. His contributions are summarized in the department’s history book as: “Dr. Gehrig broadened exposure of the program nationally and internationally, strengthened the master’s program, and fostered greater industry involvement.”
Gary received the Outstanding Construction Educator Award from the Association of General Contractors of America in 1987 and was awarded the Construction Faculty of the Year by the Associated Schools of Construction in 1996. In the fall of 2019 Gary was named as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Associated Schools of Construction which will be presented in Liverpool, England in April 2020. This award is given annually to individuals who have made significant lifelong contributions to construction education, recognizing individuals who have worked throughout their career to develop and advance construction education.
Since retirement Gary and Betsy have served six voluntary missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These include Barbados West Indies, Albania Tirana, Palmyra New York, Utica New York, Fort Collins Institute of Religion, and as Temple Construction missionaries to oversee and document the construction of the Fort Collins LDS Temple. This assignment combined perfectly Gary’s love for his faith, his companionship with Betsy and his expertise in construction management.
Gary passed away silently and peacefully on December 8. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth; his five children, Cindy Newell (husband, Clayton Newell), G. Bruce Gehrig (wife, Karen Lyons), Jill Tracy (husband, Donald Tracy), Fred Gehrig, and Carol O’Neill (husband, James O’Neill). Gary and Betsy have 18 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.
Gifts may be made in Gary’s memory to support the CSU Construction Management Scholarship at https://advancing.colostate.edu/GARYGEHRIG, or by sending a check made payable to CSU Foundation to P.O. Box 1870, Fort Collins, CO 80522 with Gary’s name in the memo line.