March 1, 1933 ~ March 27, 2022

Born in: Torrington, CT
Resided in: Cheshire, CT

Col. Kenneth D. Gertz, Sr., 89, loving husband of 66 years to Joan Laine Gertz, passed away March 27, 2022 after a brief illness. He was born in Torrington March 1, 1933, a son of the late Arthur and Ruby Stacker Gertz, and had resided in Cheshire since 1960.
He is survived by a daughter and her husband, Donna and Gary Thompson of New Milford; his grandchildren and their spouses, Scott (Jillian) Thompson of New Milford, Corey (Kimberly) Thompson of Middlebury, Courtney (Daniel) Mingrino of Cheshire, Heather Gertz of Tennessee, and Kyle Gertz of Meriden; 10 great-grandchildren, and his brother Gustav Gertz of Killingworth. He is predeceased by his son Kenneth Gertz, Jr., his grandson Kenneth Gertz, III, sisters Ruby Brayell, Linda Lauderi, and Lillian Centrella, and brothers Arthur Jr., Robert, Jacob “Bill,” and James Gertz.
After graduating from Hamden High School in 1951 he joined the Navy, where he served as a Corpsman and 1st Surgical Assistant aboard the USS Helena during the Korean War. After being honorably discharged, he attended the University of Connecticut and graduated with a BS degree in physical therapy. In 1964, he joined the Army Reserves and was commissioned as a First Lieutenant. He was assigned to the 340th General Hospital in New Haven as a physical therapist. Through his years of service, he received numerous awards, commendations and promotions. He was promoted to his final rank of Colonel on January 3, 1983. He remained in the Reserves until he reached the age for mandatory retirement on March 1, 1993. In his retirement he remained a home health physical therapist, working until the age of 85. He also served as the Executive Director of the Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center of Meriden for 30 years. In 2020 he was nominated for and received the prestigious award of the Order of Saint Maurice, an award presented to a member of the infantry community who displays the highest standards of integrity, moral character, professional competence and dedication to duty.
Ken was always very involved in his community. He was President of the Jaycees, a member of the Meriden Kiwanis Club, the New Haven Elks Club #25, and the Day Spring Lodge #30 A.F. & A. M., where he was Treasurer and ran Bingo. He was also a member and Honorary Captain of the 2nd Co. Governor’s Foot Guard, Past Commander of American Legion Post #88, the New Haven Greys, where he served as President of the Retired Division, and an active member of the First Congregational Church of Cheshire for many years. He was the recipient of numerous community awards and citations for his dedication.
Friends are invited to visit with his family on Friday, April 1st from 4-8 p.m. at BEECHER & BENNETT, 2300 Whitney Avenue, Hamden. A Masonic Service by Day Spring Lodge will be held at 7 p.m. All are invited to attend a funeral service Saturday morning, April 2nd, at 10 a.m. in the First Congregational Church, 111 Church Drive, Cheshire, followed by Military Honors. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Ken’s memory may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758516, Topeka, KS 66675, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati, OH 45250, or the Shriners Hospitals for Children, P.O. Box 947765, Atlanta, GA 30394.

Services

Visitation: April 1, 2022 4:00 - 8:00 pm

Beecher & Bennett Funeral Service - Hamden
2300 Whitney Avenue
Hamden, CT 06518

203-288-0800

Funeral Service: April 2, 2022 10:00 am

First Congregational Church of Cheshire
111 Church Drive
Cheshire, CT 06410

203-272-5323

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Guestbook

  1. RIP Ken 🙏🏿I had the pleasure of working for him at Easter Seals back in the early 1980’s. God bless him

  2. I had the pleasure of first meeting Mr. Gertz in 2004 when I was president of the Cheshire Jaycees. We were celebrating our 50th anniversary. I had invited him over to my house to help with the planning. We had a president from every decade give a speech at the anniversary dinner, I was the last to speak. I was telling the group how we instantly bonded when he came over because we had the common bond of being a Jaycee. Of giving back to our community. He was president in 1967, that was the year I was born. The age difference didn’t matter, he treated me as an equal, he treated me with respect. Every year the Cheshire Jaycees ran a carnival in town. Mr. Gertz came down the year I was co-chair and helped take the money for the food booth. He was always ready to help, to give back. The highest honor given in Jaycees or JCI is to be made a Senator. Mr. Gertz was Senator #9894. Years later I had the pleasure of working with his Grandson Scott’s wife, Jillian. It really is a small world. Most Sincerely, Cathy Dempsey, Senator #67625

  3. To Mrs. Gertz and the entire Gertz Family-

    My Mother and I had the pleasure of meeting this kind and wonderful Angel through Physical Therapy at home. My 84 year old Mother was having a difficult time after knee surgery, but she improved greatly thanks to Mr. Gertz. They connected easily as we are also from a military family. His knowledge about post-op healing, and his genuine caring , along with excellent physical therapy advice, will never be forgotten.

    Although my Mother passed away at age 90, she never forgot his kindness, and looked forward to those home visits years ago.

    I extend my deepest sympathy to you and your family. Mr. Gertz was truly an Angel among us, and he greatly impacted a lot of lives. We were very fortunate that he crossed our paths!

    Sincerely-
    Mrs. Connie Hill
    Cheshire, CT

  4. RIP Colonel Gertz, your service to your family and our country has ended, time for you to keep an eye from above, thank you for your service and dedication to our country, you will be missed sir.

    With love and respect
    Bill Glass

  5. Thank you for your friendship, Ken, and your service to our country.
    Peter Gadsby, Cheshire, CT
    Member of First Congregational Church, Cheshire, CT

  6. I served/worked with Ken in the military for about 37 years. He was always so active and kept me active as being a part of his inner-circle. He was tireless. He will be sorely missed.

  7. I’m truly sorry for the loss and send my condolences to the family. Ken was a great man, lent me several books to read before I joined the USMC, and whenever we got a chance to talk he always checked in on how I was doing, and tried to convince me to go back in and finish my 20. Fair Winds and Following Seas Colonel.

    LCPL Arthur J Vignola and family.

  8. Ken was a great man with many titles, he will be missed by many.
    He had seemingly endless words when given a microphone to express his sincere love for our country and the Men and Women who serve in all the capacities that one can.
    He was a friend that you could always depend on to make sure you had plenty of BBQ sauce, even when you didn’t know you needed it.

    He was always very encouraging to me as both a Veteran and a Masonic Brother. He would go out of his way to attend my Freemason advancement ceremonies and gifted me a Golden Square (a deeply meaningful gesture) at my installation as a Lodge Master.
    I will miss his cheerful spirit and wisdom.

    -Thomas
    “Pseudo Grandson”

  9. Dear Joan,
    I want to give you my deepest sympathy for the loss of your husband, Ken. I know you must be very proud of him and all that he accomplished during his life. I talked with Leo Pepin last night and we reminisced on our days in the 340th General Hospital with Ken. We also thought of our frequent gatherings with the “Little O” at Brazi’s. Sadly, June is in the final stages of Alzheimer’s and I am walking with a cane and no longer driving and will be unable to attend Ken’s services. I have arranged for memorial gift in Ken’s name to the Disabled American Veterans. Again, please accept my deepest sympathies.
    Your friends,
    Bob & June Granger

  10. Our VCH, Veterans Coffee House meets monthly at the Wlfd Senior Center which not only gives our Vets the chance to socialize but also take part in enjoying a guest speaker which are related to military topics, slide presentations and Q&A. At this very difficult time, our group would like to honor the loss of Col. Kenneth Gertz as a fallen brother. Our military Veterans send out their heartfelt condolences to the Gertz family and friends. As an Navy Veteran, he had joined an elite group of honorable men and our Country will forever be in his debt.

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