There are very few people one meets in a lifetime who leave a lasting impression – whose passions run so deep that they are contagious, and you can’t help getting on board with their cause. That was true about our dear friend and colleague, Gerhard Gross.
It is with heavy hearts that we learned of Gerhard’s passing last week, after a 20-month battle with gastric cancer. Anyone who knew Gerhard, knows that he had one of the most positive, uplifting spirits, and he approached everything in his life this way. As TransWorld Snowboarding so accurately shared, “His presence alone pushed those around him to try a bit harder, to hike a few steps further and to send it a little deeper.”
On Tuesday, August 21, about 50 of Gerhard’s family and friends gathered at Beacons Beach in Encinitas for a memorial paddle out in his honor, sharing stories and memories of his tenacity, vast knowledge and many accomplishments as a professional journalist, snowboarder and husband and father.
Longtime friend and TransWorld Snowboarding Photography Director Chris Wellhausen worked alongside Gerhard for seven years during his time as managing editor of the magazine, and shared everything from global adventures to late nights at the office putting together magazines. Of the many memories, Wellhausen reminisces on what he admired most about Gerhard, including his “meticulousness in caring about the style of our sports,” both in how he wrote about them and participated in them, and called out Gerhard’s high level of attention to detail and pride in storytelling, as well as his strong family values – all of which made him who he was and contributed to TransWorld Snowboarding’s heritage.
“You made a beautiful chapter in our 32 years of volumes, and left a torch of legacy for us to carry on,” said Wellhausen in a memorial to Gerhard. “We thank you for that. Wish you all the peace in the universe, G. We'll be here sharing your stories and looking out for your beautiful family.”
Dew Tour Creative Director Scott Seiver, who worked with Gerhard at TransWorld Snowboarding and then at Dew Tour where Gerhard was content director, said he admired Gerhard’s work ethic and the level of resolve and care he applied to each project. He said Gerhard challenged the norm and was constantly seeking to elevate the “the right way” of doing things, which was apparent in the countless late nights spent in the office working side by side with his team. This sentiment helped shape every element of the magazine, and later, Dew Tour’s creative vision.
“When he believed in something he stood by it,” Seiver said. “He taught me that apathy was not acceptable – you have to have resolve, you have to care. The way he cared was on another level; he continues to make me want to be a better person today. Gerhard lived a life of valor – it was imbued in everything he did. That’s what he was, up until the end: Valiant. That is how I will always remember him.”
My own memories of Gerhard speak to these sentiments; I first met Gerhard when he was managing editor of TransWorld Snowboarding, and one of the fondest memories I have is speaking with him in the hallway outside my office, as he balanced a stack of proofs for the latest issue of the magazine – for which he was on deadline and pulling one of many after-hours shifts. He spoke so eloquently about how snowboarding could embrace the sustainability movement. In a world full of noise, deadlines and distractions, Gerhard was laser-focused on the issues he cared about – on ways we could all be better stewards and better ourselves – and it only took a few minutes of listening to his perspective to get fired up on it, too.
Gerhard, may you rest easy, peacefully, and know that you’ll always be in our hearts. Your spirit will continue to be felt and remembered here in the halls of TEN and beyond. Our thoughts and prayers are with Gerhard’s family, his wife Kristen and son, Gerhard IV.
For those who wish to lend their support, a GoFundMe has been set up to support Gerhard's wife and son through these difficult times.
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