Homer Alaska - Obituaries

Story last updated at 4:40 PM on Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lewis T. 'Tanner' Gerald

Oct. 29, 1977-Aug. 5, 2011

Ninilchik resident Lewis T. "Tanner" Gerald, 33, died Aug. 5, 2011, at an Anchorage hospital due to injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident earlier that day in Ninilchik.


Lewis T. 'Tanner' Gerald

Tanner was born Oct. 29, 1977, in Ogden, Utah, to Lewis T. "Tom" Gerald and Cheryl Gerald, the younger brother of Donald Gerald. While attending rural school in Pinehurst, Ore., and later Ashland High School in Ashland, Ore., Tanner spent his free time in the surrounding mountains of the Cascade Range learning the complexities of the natural world, hiking, fishing, hunting, rafting and exploring at every opportunity. He grew up with a rescued wolf pup "Kiska" who became his inseparable companion and guardian as a young boy. If not roaming the wilderness with his brother, Donald, Tanner would explore with Kiska at his side.

Tanner began working for a friend of the family's logging business part time at the age of 13, and went on to become a topper and cutter on high tension power line maintenance through his high school years. He apprenticed with his father, becoming a master hardwood flooring installer, working in that industry for 10 years. Always the explorer, Tanner eventually set his sights on Alaska, moving to Homer and diving into the commercial fishing industry while beginning to explore his new frontier. During his first years in Alaska when fishing was slow, Tanner installed floors for a living. Tanner was able to easily find work and eventually obtained a job he loved with Aurora Power Gas & Well Service. It was hard work drilling for oil which suited Tanner just fine. Tanner's work ethic on the oil rigs made him many friends.

This ethic, along with his kindness, willingness to lend a helping hand and positive attitude got Tanner a job with his close friend Steve Beling on Steve's commercial fishing boat as an engineer and deckhand where he worked for years during times when there was no oil drilling in progress.

Tanner wasted no time learning the best salmon runs, hiking trails, beaches to comb, hunting zones, trails to ride, and creeks to gold-pan in. He used to love riding his motorcycle on the beach from Ninilchik to Homer where one frequent stop was a waterfall he enjoyed visiting.

Tanner was comfortable enjoying life and the great outdoors alone, but also enjoyed the company of friends. He was great with children and took the time to teach others about their environment and natural world.

Imagine a mountain man with a laptop and you would be imagining Tanner. At home and comfortable in the wilderness, Tanner would research the plants, fish and creatures he saw around him. Keeping in touch with family and friends was important, and Tanner was never reluctant to take a photo or video of something he saw or experienced with his cell phone, then send it on to others.

Tanner is survived by his daughter, Raychel Gerald, age 9; brother, Donald Gerald; father, Lewis T. "Tom" Gerald; stepmother, Donita Gerald; and many friends in Oregon and Alaska.

Tanner is preceded in death by his mother, Cheryl Osmus, and his beloved wolf Kiska.

A bonfire memorial was held Aug. 13, 2011, at the beach at Anchor Point for family and friends.

Tanner's ashes will be taken to Oregon and spread in a private ceremony by family and close friends at a mountaintop location he loved where eagles fly and the view is forever.

His family wishes to thank all the wonderful friends who have provided support and assistance during this time.

"His resting place is in all our hearts and memories. His legacy is his daughter, Raychel, who carries his love with her always. Tanner lived life well. We celebrate the time we had together. He will be missed," they wrote.