Stop 3: Captain Joe Ross Gerson History

Joe Ross Gerson

Joe Ross Gerson


He was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1927. After the death of his mother, he was placed in several foster homes as well as the Brooklyn Hebrew Orphan Asylum. At the age of 17, he enlisted in the Merchant Marine. A graduate of the New York State Maritime Academy at Fort Schuyler and Wayne State University of Detroit, he majored in International Trade, preparing himself for a distinguished export career. In 1951, he and his wife, Audrey moved to Fort Wayne, IN where he joined Platka Export as an Account Executive and eventually became a Vice President of Sales. It was in Fort Wayne where they raised their three children; Robin, Rhonda and Daniel. In 1964 he founded Gerson International, an automotive export management company for which he directed overseas sales and where he was awarded the prestigious President's "E" Star Award for "Excellence in Export." Following its sale, he formed the Hydrus Corporation, overseeing the work of the Valiant Foundation, which was established to fund philanthropic causes worldwide. In 1999. he was conferred a Doctor of Letters from SUNY Maritime College, where he was active in alumni affairs, receiving the Alumnus of the Year Award eight years earlier. His service to many charitable, civic, military, political and religious organizations set the stage for major involvement in the Maritime Industry Museums at Fort Schuyler, Wayne State, and Tampa; the Audrey and Joe Gerson Jewish Free Loan Program at the Fort Wayne Jewish Federation and scores of other worthwhile and meaningful causes. Joe was honored by former Indiana Governor Joe Kernan as a Sagamore of the Wabash, the highest honor the Governor can bestow. He was Chairman of the Indiana Port Commission Marketing Committee and President of the Indiana International Seafarers' Center at Burns Harbor on Lake Michigan. On the 5th of November 2004, he was appointed as a Captain in the United States Maritime Service.


Written by Rhonda Gerson-Hurwitz http://www.tributes.com/obituary/show/Joe-R.-Gerson-43785297