William Gerdes, 92, of Ft. Mitchell, KY, passed away on Tuesday, August 29, 2023, at Madonna Manor in Villa Hills, KY following recent health challenges. Bill, known as Willy to his many German friends, was the beloved son of the late Wilhelm Gerdes and Elisabeth Koss. He was born on April 15, 1931, in Lorup, Germany, and from an early age he nurtured a love for music, and specifically, polka music. While many considered Bill an artist with wood, it was on the piano accordion that he really showed his talent. He continued to play and entertain until the realities of aging made it impossible for him to manipulate and play the heavy instrument.
Bill began his formal training and apprenticeship in carpentry and construction in Germany in 1946 at age fifteen. He emigrated to the United States in 1953, and married Christina Huentelmann at St. Agnes Church in Ft. Wright in 1957. They raised seven children and were together until her passing in 2020. Bill began his own business, William Gerdes Builder, in January 1964, and he never really gave up working with wood. Until a couple of years ago, Bill could be found at all hours in his purpose-built garage workshop, crafting everything from ornate decorative spinning wheels, to intricate large bird feeders, to beautifully-detailed and complex wooden bowls, among his many creations.
Bill and his family lived in Ft. Mitchell for fifty-seven years. He was a parishioner of Blessed Sacrament Church and a very devout Catholic who truly believed in the power of prayer. Bill was a relatively quiet man who enjoyed nothing more after a hard day of work than cleaning up, changing into comfortable clothes, and then sitting at his kitchen table playing his accordion at full volume. That was a little slice of Heaven for him. If you were a new friend of the family, that was usually your first exposure to Bill.
Bill will be deeply missed by his children Rita Garrett (William), Doris Wilker (Jerry), Barbara Koplyay (Stephen), Connie Boggs (Sam), Bill Gerdes (Annette), Monica Littrell, and Lori Tenhundfeld (Rob); loving grandfather to Elizabeth Garrett Halpin (Sam), Christina and Katherine Koplyay, Connor and Austin Frohn, Will Boggs, Benny, Natalie, and Matthew Gerdes, Emma and Sarah Littrell, Ellen, Jack, Luke, and Ryan Tenhundfeld; loving great-grandfather of Thomas Halpin. He was also the dear brother of Margaret Loxterkamp, Marie Kroger (Lorup, Germany), Elisabeth Schmitz (deceased), Anton Gerdes (deceased), and George Gerdes.
A visitation will be held on Tuesday, September 5, 2023 at Blessed Sacrament Church (Ft. Mitchell, KY) at 9:00 AM until the Mass of Christian Burial begins at 10:00 AM. Interment will immediately follow at St. Mary Cemetery. Memorial donations are suggested to St. Jude Children’s Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or The Point Arc of Northern Kentucky, 104 W. Pike Street, Covington, KY 41011.