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David S. Gerber, 66, died on Dec. 17 at Bryn Mawr Terrace from a neurological disorder.
Gerber, a charter life underwriter, was the marketing vice president of M Financial Group, a consortium of independent insurance, investment and executive benefit firms, for 17 years until he became ill three years ago.
Before that, he'd been a partner for 18 years at CMS Co., a private investment firm.
"David Gerber had an incredible work ethic - he was a real leader and had tremendous energy," said Mark Solomon, CMS chairman.
As part of the eulogy he delivered at Gerber's funeral, Solomon spoke of the Jewish tradition that teaches that there are 36 righteous people in the world. "Their identities are not known until they die, and then individuals step forward to testify on their behalf," he explained. "I am here to say that David was part of that tradition."
Describing the way Gerber treated business associates, J.R. Burke, managing partner of the 1934 Group, financial planning brokers, said: "He gave us feet to stand on; wings to fly, and was the epitome of friend, father, teacher and husband."
Married 44 years, Gerber met his wife, Suzi, on a blind date, which she said was "it" for both of them.
"He adored his children and grandchildren," she said. "And because David thoroughly enjoyed classical music, he took his children and then his grandchildren to Philadelphia Orchestra concerts."
Describing her husband as "tall, slim, distinguished and a very, very fine gentleman," Suzi Gerber concluded: "He was the most righteous man that ever lived."
Gerber, born in Norristown, attended high school at Episcopal Academy in Merion, where he played both football and basketball, and continued playing at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., for two years before attending Temple University, where he earned a bachelor's degree.
"My father was happiest on the playing fields," noted Steve Gerber, "whether he was [the one] playing, or was watching me row in a regatta, my brother run cross-country, my sister play field hockey or my daughters enjoy soccer."
Gerber served on the boards of Episcopal Academy; the agency now called the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia; Congregation Rodeph Shalom; and the Jewish Family and Children's Service.
"David was a vice president of JFCS when I served as president, and chaired the agency's first strategic plan," said Federation president Harold Goldman. "He insisted that we adopt a business approach to running the agency, and that set the stage for its growth and success. As a friend, he was extremely loyal, and had a generous spirit."
In his eulogy, Steve Gerber spoke of his father's illness, perseverance and determination to maintain his lifestyle through "his unyielding commitment to exercise as it evolved from running five miles a day, five days a week, to jogging three miles a day, three days a week, to power-walking, to walking with a walker and wearing a bicycle helmet to protect him from the frequent falls" caused by his illness.
His son went on to describe how Gerber even managed to enjoy a few laughs in his last days.
David Gerber is also survived by a daughter, Molly Gerber, and four granddaughters.
A son, Kenneth Gerber, predeceased him in 1999.
Contributions in his memory can be made to the David S. Gerber Memorial Fund, Episcopal Academy, 376 N. Latches Lane, Merion, PA 19066.