Arlen Lee Gerdes, 93, passed away on Sunday morning, Oct. 3, 2021 at Naples Community Hospital in Naples, FL.
He was born Sept. 28, 1928 in Golden, Illinois to Libby and Ruth (Townsend) Gerdes. Eventually the family moved to St. Louis, MO where he attended High School.
Arlen joined the United States Army on Oct. 16, 1946 and after basic training in NC was sent to Japan as a PFC and he eventually became a Labor Foreman. He received a World War II Victory Medal and an Army of Occupation Medal while in Japan.
When he was honorably discharged on March 5, 1948, he returned home and went to work at the Chevrolet Plant in St. Louis. Several years later he and his father opened Lib and Lee's Automotive Repair Business in St. Louis. In his free time, he enjoyed auto racing and bowling, and was on numerous leagues.
In 1959 he met Gwendolyn Weltge and it was "Love at First Site." He eventually “popped the question" and on Aug. 4, 1962 they were married. They had three children, Keith, Bruce, and Nanci.
In 1980, looking for a warmer climate, they packed up the family and moved to Davie, FL. He worked for the D.O.T in Miami, eventually transferring to Ft. Lauderdale. He was promoted from Mechanic to Shop Supervisor in the mid 80's. He retired in the late 90's and he and Gwen moved to Naples.
Arlen realized that retirement wasn't for him, so he hired on at Bass Pro Shops in Ft. Myers as a Door Greeter. This was the perfect job for him because he loved talking to people and as was said, "He Never Met Stranger." He eventually went to work at Walmart in Naples. Arlen was known for his outgoing personality, sense of humor and his love for his family. He "re-retired" in 2019 at 91 years old. He spent every last day with the love of his life, Gwenie.
Arlen is survived by his wife, Gwen; 2 sons, Keith Gerdes of Nashville, TN, and Bruce Gerdes of Naples, FL; and 1 daughter, Nanci (Gerdes) English of Tallahassee, FL; 6 Grandchildren, Joseph English of Naples, FL, Dustin Gerdes of Chattanooga, TN, Amanda and Jordan English of Tallahassee, FL, and Samantha and Stephanie Gerdes of Nashville, TN; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his 2 sisters and their husband's, Phyllis (Gerdes) Long, (Charles) and Shirley (Gerdes) Rosner, (George) and his nephew, Stephen Long.
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