November 12, 1926 – March 13, 2018

The world lost two brilliant men this week; Theoretical Physicist Stephen Hawking and Herman Gelbach of Normandy Park, Washington who passed away peacefully on March 13, 5 years and one day after his wife – Vera.

Herman grew up in Pullman Washington and graduated from Washington State University with an Electrical Engineering degree. After a short stint with KIRO radio, he began his 40 year career as an instrumentation engineer in the Boeing wind tunnel. He was a registered Professional Engineer, always curious on how things worked and could be improved.

Throughout his life he was recognized and honored for his numerous contributions to Boeing, the aerospace industry, the medical industry, radio wave and instrumentation technology. He held numerous patents, had several published papers and was recognized for his expertise in analogue design. In 1990 he was Boeing Engineering Employee of the year.

Herman and his wife Vera had a passion for “rock hunting”. They were members of Boeing’s Rock Club and traveled the world. As residents of Normandy Park, for over 60 years Herman and Vera were active members in the community. He was a past president of the Normandy Park Community Club, a “founding family” of the Normandy Park Cove and served for many years on the Riviera section restrictions committee. In addition, he was a “Fellow” and past president of the Instrument Society of America (ISA) and a “HAM” radio operator since his youth.

Herman lived his final years quietly at Judson Park Retirement Community. Herman was a quiet man. The grandchildren loved visiting, he was thrilled to see them and they never left without a tight squeeze, a gentle kiss on the cheek and a faint “I love you”. Herman’s family meant the world to him and he will always mean the world to us; truly a remarkable man; husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, son and friend, who will be remembered and missed by many.

Herman was the only child of Ralph and Geneva Gelbach. He was preceded in death by his wife of 64 years. He leaves behind two sons, Roger Gelbach (Debra) of Seabeck and Lyle Gelbach (Debora) of Grapeview and six grandchildren, Paul Gelbach (Jen), Ruth Gelbach, Beck Gelbach, Kristen Blankenship (James Blankenship), Meghan Gelbach, and Sarah Gelbach (Erik Montgomery), one great-grandchild Zander Gelbach and his beloved white cat Alfred “aka Great White Hunter ”.

A special thanks to the dedicated staff at Judson Park, in Des Moines, for the care and friendship of Herman.

Service will be held 10:00 am, March 26 at Riverton Crest Cemetery, Tukwila.

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