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Published: Saturday, 3/9/2013

Frank Gerrard, 1922-2013: Champion boxer, trainer also V.P. for vending firm

BY KELLY McLENDON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Frank H. Gerrard. Frank H. Gerrard.
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Frank Gerrard, a professional boxer and trainer who had a 30-year career with Ohio Bell Telephone Co. and was vice president of Northwood Vending, died Monday at his home in Toledo.

He was 90.

The cause of death was not immediately known although a heart attack was suspected, his son Mark said.

Mr. Gerrard is known for training Pat “Spunky” Lowry, who attained world ranking, Mark Gerrard said.

“Lowry was a world-recognized fighter, but he fought fights at the sports arena up in Detroit,” Mark Gerrard said.

He said his father traveled with the star boxer and was “in the ring, right in the corner.”

Mr. Gerrard also trained fighters for the Police Athletic League in Toledo.

He had opened a gym at 508 Front St. in 1957 and managed it.

His own path with boxing was happenstance.

“My dad played football, but he was so small,” his son said, adding that a coach told his father he should try another sport.

“He excelled at boxing,” Mark said.

Mr. Gerrard entered the University of Toledo, but when World War II broke out he enlisted in the Marines, serving in the South Pacific, where he entertained fellow servicemen with boxing exhibitions.

His son said he won many championships, in Ohio, Michigan, and Utah. Later, he fought in Chicago.

“After he quit boxing, that’s when he started training Pat Lowry,” his son said.

Mr. Gerrard had a 30-year career with Ohio Bell.

He was vice president of Northwood Vending and was known for donating food to charities and people in need.

“He always made sure that no outdated food went to waste. He distributed it to a lot of places — churches and homes around the area and in individual houses. He always was very generous,” his son said.

Mr. Gerrard was born to John and Delta Cochern Gerrard, in the Toledo neighborhood once known as “Peanut Hill” at Oak Street and Oakdale Avenue. He was the eighth of 10 children.

He graduated from Waite High School in 1941.

He married his wife, Nyla, in 1944 in Rocky Mount, N.C.

“I believe she took a bus to meet him there at the Marine base,” his son said.

Mr. Gerrard was known for his involvement with his family, said his daughter-in-law, Barbara Gerrard.

“He was just great with his family — the grandkids, the great-grandkids. He liked to travel with his wife. He was just a great father-in-law and happy to be around people,” she said.

He was a member of the Toledo Zoo and liked to visit the Toledo Museum of Art. He and his wife traveled to more than 30 countries, including Africa, Australia, China, Israel, and Russia. He enjoyed boating and fishing.

Mr. Gerrard was a member of First St. John Lutheran Church for 63 years.

Surviving are his wife, Nyla, who he was married to for 69 years; sons, David, Mark, Paul, and Matthew; sister, Mary Ann Vicario; eight grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

Services are at 10 a.m. today at First St. John Lutheran Church. Eggleston Meinert & Pavley Funeral Home’s Oregon Chapel is handling arrangements.

The family suggests tributes to the church.

Contact Kelly McLendon at: kmclendon@theblade.com or 419-724-6522.



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