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Obituary: William H. Gerhold

William H. Gerhold, artist, pilot and environmentalist, passed away Monday (Feb. 14, 2011) at the VA Nursing Facility in Clarksburg, W.Va.

Born March 30, 1929, in Ashtabula, Ohio, Bill was the son of the late Gilbert and Manetta Phipps Gerhold. Surviving are his wife, Debra Woodyard Gerhold; children from a previous marriage are daughters, Lessie Gerhold Starr (Walter), Julie Gerhold Parsons (Rex), son, Charles "Chi" Gilbert Gerhold (Christa); as well as grandchildren, Gail Parsons, Elizabeth Parsons, Ivy Parsons, Ronald Parsons, Katherine Gerhold and Sophia Gerhold. Also surviving are a brother, Robert Murray Gerhold; sister, Margaret Gerhold Wolf; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by one son, William Tyra Gerhold.

Bill graduated from Huntington High School, Oberlin College and received his master's degree at The Ohio State University. Bill was in the Naval Air Corps and received his Naval Aviator training at the Pensacola Naval Air Station.

After his military service, Bill received his private pilot and instrument ratings. He also held a Commercial rating as well as his Certified Flight Instructor and Seaplane ratings. He flew corporate planes in Cleveland and for the Airolite Company of Marietta.

He taught at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and retired from the Art Department at Marietta College where he was the head of the art department for several years. He was the chairman of the "Mainstreams" exhibition for many years, working with national and international artists.

Bill was a nationally recognized artist who exhibited and taught classes in many parts of the country including Texas, Florida, North and South Carolina, Maryland's Chesapeake Bay and most notably his painting workshops in the Canaan Valley of West Virginia.

In addition to his many aviation and artistic endeavors, Bill was involved in environmental issues such as the preservation of the Canaan Valley, being on the board of directors for the Canaan Valley Institute (an environmental organization not only involved in the Canaan Valley, but a three state area as well), and initiating an environmental/art class at Marietta College entitled, "The Good and the Bad, Environment Earth."

Bill enjoyed flying and teaching others to fly. He was a member of the Experimental Aviation Association and worked closely for several years with the Young Eagles program which exposes young people to aviation through a hands-on process that culminates in a flight with a private pilot.

The legacy that Bill wanted to leave on this world was a sense of beauty and appreciation. A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday (March 5, 2011) at the Parkersburg Art Center 725 Market St., Parkersburg, at 1:30 in the afternoon. There is an online guest register at www.lamberttatman.com.