Cover photo for Arnold O. Gerken's Obituary
Arnold O. Gerken Profile Photo
1932 Arnold 2020

Arnold O. Gerken

June 19, 1932 — March 29, 2020

Arnold (Arnie) Otto Gerken

June 19, 1932-March 29, 2020

Arnie was born to Henry C. and Ida (Rickenburg) Gerken on June 19, 1932. When Arnie was 1 ½ years old, his mother died and he was then raised by aunt and uncle Ernest and Erna E. Lange.

On December 5, 1954, he married Lois (Freytag) at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Napoleon Township by Pastor George Hueter.

Arnie graduated from Hamler High School and was employed as a carpenter until he went into the Army. He was stationed in Korea, earning the rank of CPL. After his tour of duty in Korea, he returned home and was employed at Panning Lumber Co. After being employed for some years, he and Paul Hoops became the owners of Panning Lumber, changing the name to Hamler Lumber and Builders Supply Inc. He later became sole owner and managed the lumber yard until closing in 1988.

Arnie is survived by his wife of 65 years, Lois (Freytag) Gerken; sons, Gary, Hamler, Kevin (Kelli) Gerken, Napoleon; daughters, Elaine (Scott) DeTray, Napoleon, Brenda (Rick) Guinn, Cartersville, GA; grandchildren, Christopher (Melissa) DeTray, Jessica DeTray, Harley Guinn, Konner (Chelsea) Gerken; step-granddaughter, Kari (Kyle) Zachrich; great grandchildren, Riley and Rowan DeTray; step great grandchildren, Julia and Landon Zachrich; and sisters, Laura Durham and Anna Grimm.

He is preceded in death by his parents and brothers, Richard and Harold Gerken.

Arnie served in the Korean War and was a member of Fifth Regimental Combat Team. He was Life Member of the American Legion, Hamler, life member of Hope Lutheran Church, Hamler, former owner/manager Hamler Lumber Co., former member Ohio Lumberman’s Association, former Mayor of Hamler (1980-83), member of Hamler City Council (1994-2018), co-founder of Hamler Summerfest, co-founder of Ohio Polka Boosters, co-founder of NW Ohio Low German Club, and a trustee for the Henry County Senior Center.

After retirement, he had numerous hobbies to keep him occupied. He loved walking into town to get the mail, working on puzzles, Sunday afternoon polka dances, and gardening.

In light of COVID-19, Arnie will be laid to rest in a private ceremony Thursday, April 2, 2020 at the  Zachrich Family Funeral Home, Holgate. The family will have a Celebration of Life at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Hospice of NW Ohio or the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (1311 Mamaroneck Ave., White Plains, NY 10605). Please visit to leave online condolences.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Arnold O. Gerken, please visit our flower store.


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