Michael Sean Gerlach, 59, of Two Harbors, formerly of Duluth, died Friday, June 28, 2013, at home after a battle with cancer.
Michael was born in Moorhead, Minnesota, on May 17, 1954, to James A. and M. Lucille Gerlach. He graduated from Shanley Catholic High School in 1972. He then attended the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, for one year where he was admitted to the UND Chapter of Phi Eta Sigma, the National Freshman Honor Society prior to enlisting in the United States Army where he was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for meritorious service.
Upon completion of his enlistment, he was honorably discharged and attended Moorhead State University where he received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Personal Services Magna Cum Laude.
He married Renee Mary Theroux in 1977. Michael and Renee have one son, James N. (Jacqueline) Gerlach who resides in Santa Clara, California. James works for Next Issue Media in the San Francisco Bay area as their Director of Design.
Michael and Renee have one daughter, Megan I. Gerlach of Long Beach, California, who works as a Human Resources Generalist at Vans, a division of VF Corporation, in Orange County, CA.
After college, Mike then worked for the Social Security Administration as a claims representative for approximately five years where he received multiple sustained superior performance awards.
Mike then attended the University of North Dakota School of Law, graduating in 1987 with Distinction where he was student co-director of the Legal Aid Clinic.
Michael and Renee then moved to Duluth and, in 1992, with co-founding partner Steven J. Running, established the law firm known today as Gerlach, Beaumier and Trogdon, Attorneys at Law, LLP, where for the last 25 years he concentrated his practice in estate and trust planning and estate administration.
Michael was involved in a number of volunteer activities, past and present, which included the following: Chair, Salvation Army Duluth Advisory Board; Trustee, Ecumen (Minnesota's largest non-profit provider of housing for the elderly); Chair, Lakeshore Lutheran/Bayshore Homes Advisory Board; Chair, Lakeshore Capital Campaign Member, Lakeshore Home Ethics Committee; Chair, Parish Council, St. Michael's Church Duluth; Chair, Social Concerns Committee, St. Michael's Church Duluth; Lector, St. Michael's Church Duluth; Director, Board of Friends of University of Minnesota Library Duluth; Secretary/Treasurer, Knife River (Minnesota) Marina Yacht Club; Sixth Judicial District Volunteer Guardian ad Litem; Sixth Judicial District Volunteer Attorney Program; Mentor, Big Brother Program; Board of Directors, Legal Aid of North Dakota; Co-Student Director, University of North Dakota Legal Aid Clinic; Member, American Legion Duluth School District Desegregation Committee; Member, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA); Member, American/Local/State Bar Association.
Michael was an avid hunter, camper, and fisherman. He considered his greatest achievement his 36 years of marriage to his beloved wife, Renee, and the love and pride he felt for his children.
Michael is preceded in death by his mother, M. Lucille Gerlach (1980) of Fargo, ND, and his father, James A. Gerlach (1987) of Fargo, ND. He was also preceded in death by his niece, Crissie Gerlach (1974) of Moorhead, MN, his mother-in-law, Phyllis M. Marchildon (1994) of Duluth, MN, his father-in-law, Val F. Marchildon (2002) of Duluth, MN, his brother-in-law, David Lester (1994) of Fargo, ND, his good friend, Michael B. Lien (1977) of Annapolis, MD, and his brother-in-law, Mark Marchildon (2011) of Orlando, FL.
Besides his wife, Renee, and his children, James (Jacqueline) and Megan, Michael is survived by his sister Kathryn J. Lester, of Fargo, ND, brother Patrick J. Gerlach (Bernie) of Wing, ND, sister Ann Gerlach Ulmer (Jim) of Frazee, MN, sister Jane I. Williams (Mark) of Fort Collins, CO, sister-in-law Janine A. Marchildon of Woodbury, MN, sister-in-law Laura J. Saarela (Timothy) of Prior Lake, MN, sister-in-law Martha J. Wolff (Dean) of Hermantown, MN, brother-in-law Michael J. Marchildon (Alicia) of Morton, IL, nephews and nieces, Jennifer Pepple, Stephanie Gerlach, Timothy Lester, Jesse Ulmer, Joe Gerlach, Lacey Cobb, Matt Ulmer, Cody Williams, Neal Saarela, Erin Saarela, and Ben Williams.
Visitation will be Tuesday, July 2, 2013, starting at 9:00am with Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00am, St. Michael's Church, 4901 E. Superior Street, Duluth, MN. In lieu of flowers, donations to St. Michael's Catholic Church of Duluth, Minnesota Endowment Fund or the Duluth Salvation Army Hometown Endowment Fund, would be appreciated.Arrangements by Dougherty Funeral Home, Duluth, MN, (218)727-2333.
July 1 , 2013