Demita Anne Ashley Gerber

Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona, USA
Death 12 Jun 2010 (aged 67)
Madison, Dane County, Wisconsin, USA
Burial Unknown
Memorial ID 54485191 · View Source
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Demita, age 67, director of the Monona Public Library, died on Saturday in HospiceCare of Madison, due to complications from a cerebral aneurysm. She married Porter Dean Gerber, then a student at California Institute of Technology, whom she met while attending Whittier College, in 1962. The couple moved to New York City, and Demita obtained a B.A. from City College of New York in 1966, along with a master's in library science from Columbia University in 1968. She began her lifelong career as a librarian in 1970 at the John C. Hart Memorial Library in Shrub Oak, N.Y. After divorcing in 1982, she worked as program director of White Plains Library in New York. She then took managerial positions at libraries in Tucson, Ariz., and Newburgh, NY. Demita devoted her working life to the ideals of public librarianship, persistently striving to adapt library services to the changing demands of an increasingly high-tech information age, extend them to broader groups of people in the communities she served, while instilling a positive, enthusiastic spirit in her coworkers and patrons. In 1993, she became library director in the town of Greenburgh, NY., where she spearheaded several successful and innovative projects, such as a cybermobile for underserved neighborhoods, "Teenburgh" programs for young adults, and the construction of a new, award-winning library building. A testimony to her success in Greenburgh was the approval by local voters of $20 million in funding for the new building, despite the vocal opposition of a minority of town leaders. Prior to leaving Greenburgh in 2006, to become director of the Monona Public Library, she was presented with an award from Congresswoman Nita Lowey honoring her for her decades of service to the New York public library system. Demita embraced her new job and the greater Madison area wholeheartedly, valuing the opportunity to escape the political intrigues and intense pressures of Greenburgh in favor of a more supportive, people-oriented community with greater proximity to her grandchildren. Her energetic efforts inspired her staff and helped the Monona Library improve circulation by 10%, the number of library cards by 8%, and program participation by 25% in 2009. She was also a dynamic fundraiser for the library, recently helping to secure over $153,000 in donations for its "Booked for Life" endowment fund drive. To honor Demita's contributions, the Monona Library plans to inaugurate a "meditation and mindfulness reading nook" in her memory and to name a part of its new garden space after her. Demita loved her job both for its challenges and for the opportunity it gave her to contribute to people through providing library services. She was equally giving outside of work. She had a rich spiritual life as a practitioner of Siddha yoga, and she was a leader in the vibrant Siddha yoga community of Madison. She took great pleasure in being an active part of her children's and grandchildren's lives. She also enjoyed politics, the opera and symphony, travel, exploring new ideas and experiences, and visiting with friends, both locally and around the country. Demita spent her final weeks surrounded by devoted family, friends, and members of the Siddha Yoga community of Madison. She is survived by her son, Theodore Gerber of Madison, WI and his wife, Molly Wesling; her son, Matthew Gerber of Longmont, CO, and his wife, Heather; four grandchildren, Nicholas and Oliver of Madison, WI, and Victor and Elizabeth of Longmont, WI; brothers, Fred Ashley of Cherry Hill, NJ, and Russell Ashley of Riverdale, NY; sister, Diane Dokos of San Juan Capistrano, CA; former husband, Dean Gerber of Santa Fe, NM; and many dear friends in New York, Arizona and Wisconsin. A memorial meeting was held on Saturday, July 31, in the Atrium at Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Madison. She is much missed, but her remarkable spirit lives on in the hearts of those whose lives she touched. Her obituary and a photo can be found in the Wisconsin State Journal on July 4, 2010.

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  • Created by: Kathy (Weller) Medick
  • Added: 4 Jul 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 54485191
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Demita Anne Ashley Gerber (8 Oct 1942–12 Jun 2010), Find a Grave Memorial no. 54485191, ; Maintained by Kathy (Weller) Medick (contributor 46877710) Unknown.