Eastside basketball court named for Bob Gerber

A sign proclaiming Eastside High School’s gym as “Gerb Court” was unveiled at the Dec. 17 basketball games. Bob Gerber was a longtime fixture in Eastside athletics. He died Aug. 13.

Some people make an impact in how they lead or mold others.

Some people make an impact by their positive attitude, good nature or hard work.

The rare ones combine all of those attributes and more.

When they are no longer with us, we feel that absence, but the memory remains.

Robert P. “Bob” Gerber, better known to just about everyone as “Gerb,” was one of those rare ones.

When he died Aug. 13, it left everyone feeling sad at the loss of a father, husband, brother, uncle, classmate, friend, coach and mentor.

It’s the type of absence that can never be replaced but some gestures can help make sure the memory remains.

“‘Gerb’ was a mainstay in Eastside athletics,” said athletic director Aaron Willard. “He was always dedicated and dependable. He loved being around the school and being involved.

“‘Gerb’ liked getting to know our student athletes,” Willard added. “He will be missed.”

A member of Eastside’s first basketball sectional championship team in 1966, for more than 30 years, Gerber was a fixture on the sidelines for a number of Eastside basketball teams.

He coached junior high and reserve boys, and was a varsity assistant before helping his daughter Bobbie coach junior high girls basketball.

After his retirement from coaching, Gerber and wife Nancy were almost always seated at center court for Eastside games.

On Dec. 17, the DeKalb Eastern school district made sure “Gerb” will be remembered by naming the basketball court at Eastside High School in his honor.

“Bob Gerber was and is an Eastside legend,” DeKalb Eastern Superintendent Dr. Jeff Stephens said at the dedication ceremony.

“He impacted many lives here at Eastside,” he continued. “It is a fitting honor that we dedicate this court in his name.”

A sign bearing “Gerb Court” and Gerber’s signature was unveiled. Willard said “Gerb Court” will be made part of the gym floor, and his biography will be displayed in the gym lobby for future generations to understand why the floor is named for him.

“What an awesome night for our community with the gym dedication for ‘Gerb,’” said Eastside boys basketball coach Ryan Abbott.

“I will tell you, when I was playing here, from 1998 to 2002, ‘Gerb’ was here. I remember him, and that’s me as a high school kid.

“I didn’t have any stock in anything for Eastside at the time; I was just a basketball player coming here or some guys from Butler coming to Woodlan to play. I remember ‘Gerb.’

“That’s just a testament to his charisma and his presence in the Eastside community,” Abbott stated. “For the last eight years coaching here, he’s just been a tremendous influence on our community, and especially with boys basketball.”

Chicago Cubs Hall-of-Fame player Ernie Banks was known for saying “Let’s play two” baseball games.

For “Gerb,” Eastside went one better — playing three — boys reserve, varsity girls and varsity boys basketball games with Lakewood Park on the newly-christened floor.

“Gerb” probably wouldn’t have cared for all of the fuss and attention, but from his vantage point at the ultimate center court, you can bet he has a big smile on his face.

JEFF JONES has been the editor of The Butler Bulletin since January 2006. Questions and comments about this column may be sent to jjones@kpcmedia.com.

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