Melvin Anderson GerhartAugust 7th, 2019
Retired USAF Senior Master Sgt. Melvin Anderson Gerhart, 87, passed away Sunday, July 29,2019, at the Missouri Veteran's Home, Warrensburg, Mo. Due to declining health, he had been residing there since January 2018. Melvin was born November 28, 1931, in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri, the son of Clyde A. Gerhart and Bernice Marie (Barnes) Gerhart. Mel attended elementary school in rural Morgan County, Missouri and Stover High School, Stover, Mo., graduating with the Class of 1950. While in high school, he lived with his grandparents, Arthur Forest and Marie Gerhart at Stover. He assisted his grandfather on the farm and also their ranch south of town. After graduating from high school, he returned to Kansas City, Mo and was employed there with his uncle's company, Wood's Construction, that was engaged in the construction of the Country Club Plaza. With the Korean War continuing on, rather than be drafted into the Army, Mel chose to enlist in the Air Force. On February 20, 1951, he enlisted and went on to make it his career. After completing basic training at Lackland AFB in Texas, he went through gunnery training at Lowry AFB, in Colorado that resulted in him being assigned a position on a B-29 crew. On June 1, 1952, Melvin and his high school sweetheart, Evelyn Jerlene Hinken, were united in marriage by Chaplain Urban Johansman at the Davis-Monthan AFB Chapel, Tucson, Pima County, Arizona. Two children were born to this union, son Ronald Steven, and daughter Linda LeAnne. Mel served 23-plus years on active duty, retiring at Hickam AFB, Hawaii on March 1, 1974, at rank of Senior Master Sergeant (SMSgt). At that time, he was assigned to the 41st Air Rescue and Recovery Wing. During his career, he served in the Strategic Air Command (SAC) and Military Airlift Command (MAC), filling positions of flight line controller, crew chief of B-47 and B-58 aircraft and was awarded medals for his meritorious service. Throughout those years of service, his permanent military assignments took him (and his family) to military bases located in Arizona, New York, Florida, Texas, Arkansas, and the Islands of Guam and Hawaii. While Stationed in Guam, Mel and his family vacationed in Japan. After retiring from the Air Force, Mel was employed for 20 years as a sales representative at two Ford Motor Company dealerships, 10 years at Drew Ford in San Diego, Calif. and 10 years at Joe Machens Ford in Columbia, Mo. (after moving back to Missouri in 1984). Mel enjoyed bowling, playing golf, and spending time with family and friends. He was a member of the California United Methodist Church. Survivors include his wife Evelyn; son, Ronald Steven Gerhart (wife Janet); daughter, Linda LeAnne Gerhart (soul mate Ed Martin); grandchildren, Matthew Thomas, Ryan Steven and Samantha Lauren Gerhart; sister, Betty Marie York of Norwalk, Calif.; half sisters, Karen Clark (James), Laurie Mo., and Rita Rice of Climax Springs, Mo.; half brothers, Warren Gerhart of Versailles, Mo. and Forrest Gail Gerhart of Camdenton, Mo., Lee Saunders (Dolores) of Parkville, Mo.; and serval nieces and nephews. Visitation was held on Saturday, August 3, 2019, from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. at Windmill Ridge Funeral Service. Graveside service with full military honors followed at 3:00 p.m. in the California City Cemetery with Rev. John Roberts officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorials were suggested to California United Methodist Church. Online messages to the family may be contributed at www.windmillridgefuneralservice.com.