For more than 20 years, Bob Gerrard took photos for the Kane County Chronicle – covering sports, news, features, car crashes and fires – documenting everyday life in the Fox Valley.
Gerrard, 61, died of a heart attack Dec. 22, leaving friends and former coworkers remembering a kind, gentle man who was an immensely talented photographer and artist.
A photographer and photo editor at the Chronicle before leaving in 2008, Gerrard continued work as a freelance photographer, including as a volunteer for nonprofits’ events.
A resident of DeKalb, Gerrard had previously lived in Batavia for many years, said former coworker Mark Foster, now a freelance writer for the Chronicle.
“He was an incredible organizer,” Foster said. “He was able to juggle photo assignments and make them all happen so we had accompanying illustrations to go with all the reporters’ stories. Bob was an outstanding photographer, with a keen eye for composition.”
Foster recalled that Gerrard had a way with people that put them at ease, allowing him to picture his subjects at their best.
“Covering a news assignment with Bob was always so much fun,” Foster said. “Bob had a sly, sardonic sense of humor – yet he treated everyone with kindness and respect.”
All joking aside, Gerrard took his responsibilities as a newspaper photographer very seriously, Foster said.
“For example, he always had the police and fire scanner on in the background, whether at work, at home or in the car,” Foster said. “When there was a fire or traffic collision, Bob was at the scene in no time.”
Former Chronicle staff writer Kathy Guyer enjoyed working with Gerrard.
“He was a kind and gentle man who loved nature and animals and people,” Guyer said. “He was a very handsome man – I could not help but to fall in love with him. He had a great sense of humor. I loved that about him.”
Guyer also recounted Gerrard’s professionalism.
“He enjoyed working with people and taking photos, whether in times of sadness or in times of joy,” Guyer said. “He was always very sensitive to the feelings of others.”
Former coworker Eric Schelkopf, who is now on staff at another Shaw publication, Suburban Life Media, recalled that Gerrard always stressed teamwork.
“He knew that the public demanded a high standard, and he delivered,” Schelkopf said.
But he also recalled Gerrard’s humor and gentle manner.
“Bob had a wry sense of humor that would kind of sneak up on you,” Schelkopf said. “You couldn’t tell he was joking at the time. You’d think about what he said, then you would start laughing. … He was genuinely a nice human being. He had a warm personality, and no one was a stranger to him.”
A celebration of life gathering for Gerrard will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, condolences and memorials can be sent to the family via Finch Funeral Home, 310 Oak Street, DeKalb, IL 60115.