Benson - Arthur J. "AJ" Gerdes, 79, of Benson, IL, passed away at 7:15 p.m. on Wednesday January 17, 2018 at his residence surrounded by his famiy.
He was born December 11, 1938 in Benson, IL to P. Arthur and Elizabeth Johnson Gerdes. He married Donna Emlen on March 13, 1960 in Benson, IL. She survives.
Also surviving are his three children, Tena (Shoey) Lee of Benson; Scott Gerdes of Benson; Craig (Janel) Gerdes of Pattonsburg; one sister, Lois Gerdes; one brother, James Gerdes both of Roanoke; six grandchildren, Marissa, Taryn and Kendrei Lee; Amanda (Erik) Griffith; and Jake and Luke Gerdes; three great grandchildren, Rylie- Jo Damron; and Xane and Knox Griffith.
He was preceded in death by his parents, five brothers, Ernest, Albert, Frank, Chester, and Eldon; and two sisters, Vida and Helen.
Art was a lifelong Benson resident and pillar of his community where he and his wife Donna owned and operated AJ's Lounge in Benson.
Art believed in his community and was always willing to do his part to give back. He served on the Benson Fire Department for 30+ years also serving as it's treasurer. He served as trustee for many years for Clayton Township and later as Clayton Township Supervisor. He oversaw the Clayton Township Cemetery for many years and also served on the multi-township board.
He was a member of the St. Paul Lutheran Church in Benson.
AJ had a lifelong passion for music and loved to play for people and especially loved to play with his family. What he was most known for though was his love of people. He was the type of who could talk to anybody regardless of their age or situation in life. He never met a stranger and will be greatly missed by those who loved and knew him.
Per his wishes, cremation rites will be accorded. The family will be hosting a celebration of Art's life by greeting friends and family on Sunday from 2-5 pm at the Benson American Legion.
In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial contributions may be made to the Benson Fire Department or the Benson Ambulance. Online condolences may be made to the family at knappjohnsonharris.com.
Celebration of Life Service
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM (CST)
Benson American Legion
314 Front Street
Benson, IL 61516
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