Glen Lyle ‘Denny’ Gerlach
A funeral for lifelong Cortez resident Glen Lyle “Denny” Gerlach will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Empire Street Chapel. Interment will follow at Fairview Cemetery.
Glen Lyle “Denny” Gerlach was born Nov. 14, 1951, in Cortez to Lois Francis (Lybyer) Gerlach and R. Clare Gerlach. He passed away at his home outside of Cortez on Oct. 22, 2013, after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.
He was given the nickname Denny by his brother, Raymond, who had trouble pronouncing “Glenny.” His outlook on life was a positive and cheerful one. He was blessed to be surrounded by a loving family and bolstered by a strong belief in his Heavenly Father and his Savior Jesus Christ.
Denny attended elementary school at Pleasant View through eighth grade and attended Montezuma-Cortez High School where he enjoyed being involved in Future Farmers of America. The summer of his junior year he was selected to serve as Colorado’s representative to the National Agricultural Youth Institute in Lincoln, Neb., and was asked to serve for a year as a state officer for the Colorado State FFA. Denny was chosen by his class to be a speaker at his high school graduation in 1969 after winning a district FFA speech contest.
Denny attended a smorgasbord of different colleges including Colorado Mountain College (way too liberal for him), Ricks College (way too cold in that Idaho town of Rexburg), and Colorado State University (just right). He excelled academically, became great friends with his roommates, and enjoyed a very active social life.
Finishing a successful year at CSU, he made the best decision of his young life by accepting a two-year call to serve a LDS mission in Los Angeles. There he learned to speak fluent Spanish and spent most of his time in the barrios of the big city. Going from the small town of Cortez to the huge and tumultuous city of LA in the early 70s was a cultural shock on a major scale! However, he learned to love the people who had come from many Latin countries, and he grew in his love for God and his Savior, Jesus Christ.
At the conclusion of his two-year mission, Denny worked to complete his education by attending Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. These were some of the best times of his life. He enjoyed the academic challenge and again excelled in his studies, but also enjoyed getting to know many of the beautiful co-eds. He quickly became very fond of a country girl from Colville, Wash. by the name of Kathy McCombs. They began dating in January, became engaged in September, and were married on Dec. 18, 1974, in the LDS Temple in Manti, Utah. They both graduated from BYU in April of 1975. Denny graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Economics. Denny and Kathy then moved back to Yellow Jacket to work on the family farm. He worked on the farm for two years, and then took the opportunity to purchase part ownership in the local John Deere equipment dealership, Tierra Equipment, where he worked as assistant manager/salesman for the next eight years. During these years, Denny and Kathy took the opportunity to adopt two children into their family, Delanie Rose, and Jacob Aaron. These two made their family complete and brought about great adventures, learning opportunities, and joy.
After starving out of farming and then the farm equipment business, Denny returned back to Fort Lewis College to finish a degree in Spanish and to obtain a secondary teaching certificate. As he entered the teaching profession, he felt he had come home. He accepted a teaching position in Mancos, teaching World History and Spanish, and had the opportunity to coach boys JV basketball. He enjoyed his teaching experience in Mancos for five years until an opportunity to teach closer to home in Cortez arose. He then taught Spanish for another 18 years at Montezuma-Cortez High School.
Denny was a natural teacher and enjoyed relating to the students he loved and respected. He not only found great satisfaction as he excelled in the art of teaching, but also in being part of the school environment and becoming friends with the amazing staff and students of M-CHS. Teaching full-time during these years, Denny and Kathy once more graduated together as they obtained their master’s degrees in education with special endorsements in Teaching the Linguistically Diverse. This extra training was not only beneficial to his work in the classroom, but also enhanced his retirement that became necessary in 2010 because of cancer.
Denny was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and served in many capacities over the years. His testimony of God and Jesus Christ helped sustain him through the many trials and tribulations.
Denny found fulfillment in his life through his family, friends, and interests, such as reading, playing guitar and singing, restoring a 1965 Thunderbird, traveling to various places around the world, and serving others. Denny was known for his sense of humor, his generosity, and his ability to love and be loved by everyone around him.
Denny is survived by his wife of 39 years, Kathryn Jean (McCombs) Gerlach; his children, Delanie Rose Gerlach, Jacob Aaron Gerlach and wife, Samantha; one grandchild, Mikayla Kathryn; his father, R. Clare Gerlach; siblings, Kay Bayles and husband, Mark, and Linda Morton of Cortez, as well as Raymond Gerlach and wife, Anna of Fort Collins. He is also survived by his mother-in-law, Jeannine McCombs; brother and sister-in-laws, Barry and Julie McCombs, Danny and Fred Hayes, Jill and Jerry Divis, Adam and Sherri McCombs, Heather and Mark Ekins, and Tammy and Kelly Rose, as well as 46 adored nieces and nephews and their spouses. Denny was predeceased by his mother, Lois Francis Gerlach (November 6, 2005); and brother, Gary Clare Gerlach (age 4); as well as father-in-law, N. Peter McCombs; and sister-in-law, Janet Gerlach.
Services are under the direction of Ertel Funeral Home. For further information or to send condolences, log on to www.ertelfuneralhome.com and click on the obituary section.