Peter Lorance Gernand Sr., 92 years old, formerly of Potomac, passed away peacefully the morning of September 18, 2021. Born in the Southside of Chicago, IL in 1929, to Peter John and Lorna Gernand, Pete was affectionately nicknamed Teddy by his sister, Virginia. The nickname stuck and later he was known as Ted to family and friends. Ted was smitten by Margaret Reed when he saw her working on her rural Potomac family farm. They married in Chicago on December 4, 1951 and shared almost 62 years of marriage before her death. Ted was very proud of his family and his farm. He was father to Jean (Ed) Perkins and Larry (Dianna) Gernand, and Grandpa to Scott (Lisa) Perkins, Andy (Emily) Gernand, Todd (Natalie) Perkins, Katie, (Daniel) Bretscher, Ashley (Matt) Beery, and Luke (Thea) Gernand, and Great grandpa to Mara, Marissa, Miranda, McKenna, Ava, Elaina, and Zachary Perkins, Macey, Evan, Drew, and Charlotte Gernand, Noah and Eli Bretscher, and Jordan Beery. He is survived by a brother, Bill (Phyllis) Gernand and his sisters-in law Sue Reed, Susan Reed, and Marilyn (Bill) Boen, and brothers-in-law Frank (Sharon) Reed and Ralph (Diana) Reed and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, wife, infant sister, Betty, granddaughter, Emily Jane Gernand, sister and brother-in-law, Virginia and Louis vanBurk, sister-in-law. Dorothy Ellis and brothers-in-law, Bob Ellis, Joe, Albert, Kenneth, and Harold Reed.
Ted was always a hard worker. He began his career by selling newspapers on a Chicago street corner during the depression. When Ted was 14, his dad leased him a 40-acre farm, and he became a farmer. Behind his family, farming became the most important thing in his life. Ted shared his love of farming with his son, Larry, and grandsons, Andy and Luke, who are now fifth generation Vermilion County farmers. In 2003, the Gernand's were one of the host farmers of the 50th Farm Progress Show as well as the first host of the Half Century of Progress Show both held on their Henning, Illinois farm.
Ted was always an early riser, and he liked to call his family before 6 a.m. to check on them. After he ate his first breakfast, Ted would check the markets and read the Wall Street Journal. In the 1990’s, he entered a contest, Wizards of Wall Street sponsored by the News Gazette. Rather it be his lucky nickel or knowledge, Ted ended up being one of the top 10.
In 1948, Ted was salutatorian of the last graduating class of Alvin High School. For his graduation gift, his dad took him on the train to the state of Washington. This trip was the beginning of his love for traveling out West. In the 1980’s and 90’s, Ted and Margaret shared many vacations with their 3 older grandsons. Even though each year they traveled nearly the same route to the Dakotas and stopped at the same restaurants, the boys always came home with many new stories.
Pete Gernand was a true American farmer, working long hours in his bib overalls. From spring planting through fall harvest, he enjoyed every day of working on Gernand Farms, but Ted Gernand will be remembered for his infectious laugh, twinkle in his eyes, and that smile, “If you know what I mean?”
Per his wishes, a private family celebration will be held to celebrate the life of Peter Gernand at Blurton Funeral Home with burial at the Potomac Cemetery. Memorials may be sent in Peter’s name to the Vermilion County Farm Bureau Foundation or the Carle Foundation. The family has entrusted the Blurton Funeral Home in Potomac to assist in honoring Pete’s life. Condolences may be shared with the family on his everlasting memorial page at: www.BlurtonFuneralHomes.com.
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