Joe Gerrath was born on a farm southeast of Saskatoon to a father born in Wisconsin and a mother born in Scotland. His paternal grandparents were both born in Prussia in the vicinity of Cologne and of Trier. He attended a one-room schoolhouse until the third grade when his father died. Joe went with his mother to Vancouver where he grew up and completed his education eventually receiving a PhD from UBC in Botany with research specialization in freshwater algae.
During his graduate work, he attended the University of London (England) as a Commonwealth Scholar. He was on the faculty of the University of Guelph for 31 years teaching courses on algae, bryophytes, aquatic biology, general botany, the plant kingdom and plant diversity. Joe was active in the Canadian Botanical Association serving terms as Treasurer, Bulletin Editor, Archivist and President.
Before retiring several years ago, Joe was asked by his son John to help him read German records. Soon John turned over all the German researching, and Joe has since spent several years going through microfilms at the FHC at Lorraine and River Rd. He is currently one of the volunteers there.
Joe has also done some research on Waterloo region families who trace their ancestry to the town of Rehweiler. These include the Stroh family who are distant relatives of Leonard Stroh, Joe's brother-in-law.
Joe and his wife Jean (who also holds a PhD in Botany), have two children, John and Janet, and two grandchildren, James and Penny.
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