INDIAN ROCKS BEACH — Larry Gerwig, whose construction skills helped shape Tampa Bay’s skyline over several decades, died Wednesday, April 21. He was 76.
Gerwig was born in Springfield, Ohio, on March 12, 1945. He moved to Clearwater with his family after his high school graduation in 1963. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1965 and served two years.
He then studied construction and architectural design at Pinellas Technical College.
During his 13 years with Enterprise Building Group, Gerwig supervised the construction of Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. The marvelous arts center has hosted top entertainers since its founding in 1977, including of course, the Florida Orchestra.
Gerwig joined Creative Contractors in 1985 and worked his way up to executive vice president.
“We will always remember him fondly,” said Alan Bomstein, chief executive of Creative Contractors.
Business associates said Gerwig could build an entire building in his head and estimate the cost accurately without a calculator. He mentored many of the people in the business today.
He donated his time generously to arts, music and other community activities throughout his life.
City commissioners in Indian Rocks Beach and other beach communities held a moment of silence in Gerwig’s memory, and spent part of their meetings recounting his contribution to community life. After moving to Indian Rocks Beach in 2010, for instance, Gerwig’s interest in art brought him to the town’s Beach Art Center, where he was a longtime board member and chair of both the facilities and gift shop committees. He became an accomplished artist in oil and water and won multiple contests in juried shows.
“His commitment knew no bounds,” art center officials said in an online tribute. “His joy, talent and commitment will be greatly missed.”
A lover of jazz and other music, Gerwig volunteered with the Clearwater Jazz Holiday, where he served as president from 2004-2005 and as a member of the Clearwater Jazz Holiday Foundation board for 25 years.
“He always looked forward to October and Clearwater Jazz in Coachman Park,” Steve Weinberger, chief executive of the foundation, told Bob Griffin of Beach Newsletters.
Gerwig loved traveling, especially back to Europe and Germany where he served in the Army.
He was a founding member of Indian Rocks Beach senior softball a decade ago. He was one of five players over the age of 70. He also enjoyed playing pickleball.
His family has requested that donations be made to The Beach Art Center of Indian Rocks Beach and/or the Clearwater Jazz Foundation.
He was predeceased by his parents, Lawrence and Glenna and his sister, Melanie. He is survived by his wife, Linda, of 32 years, his two sons, Paul (Joanna) of Ayers, Massachusetts; David (Kristina) of Clearwater; and two stepsons, Mark Streicher (Stacy) of Tampa and Michael Streicher (Lori) of Japan; and 11 grandchildren, Andy, Ethan, Spencer, Katie, Emma, Taylor, Carson, Riley, Sydney, Zachary and Jack.