Dececeased October 26, 1971
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A freak allergy is blamed for the death of Jim Gerhard on Oct. 26, 1971. Jim was stricken while entertaining friends at his apartment in Belchertown, Mass. He died almost at once. The Hampshire County district attorney ordered a thorough autopsy. After a one-month investigation that included microscopic tissue studies, the medical examiner attributed the death to natural causes, specifically an acute allergic reaction.
Jim was born April 16, 1942, in Pontiac, Mich. A bachelor, he is survived by his parents, two sisters and a brother. His father (John Davey Gerhard '38) and mother now reside in Bernardsville, N.J.
In Michigan, Jim prepared for Amherst at Bloomfield Hills High School. In college his major was psychology. He was secretary and social chairman at Beta Theta Pi, won two varsity letters and--attired in the crimson robe of a certain whimsical college president--scored a smash hit with his Caleidoscope number in our senior class revue, Fiddledeedee.
After graduation, Jim remained in the Amherst area as college photographer and as an award-winning freelance. A memorial tribute by two of Jim's friends at the Amherst Record accompanied a special review of some of his work. On the day after his death, these were the Record's words:
"If you were friends with Jim Gerhard, it was hard to imagine a time before you knew him. He was always there, striding down the street, greeting you from a block away, large and vital, and then bursting with the new people or places or things that filled his life. For a time, it was apt to be food and recipes; another, vacation dreams; sometimes bicycling or self-imposed exercise. Always it was children ... a kid he'd just taken a picture of whom you ought to meet.
"We were lucky enough to publish many of his pictures over the past seven or eight years, pictures of all sizes and conditions of people, and among them were a lot of those great kids. Some of them are grown now.
"You can almost hear it. You'd call. He'd pick up the receiver, 'James here.' You'd tell him you wanted to publish some of his pictures from over a span of time. We think ... we hope ... that he'd like that."