Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Obituary for Demita Anne Gerber

I have excerpted parts of the obituary for Monona's late library director Demita Gerber ran in this past Sunday's Wisconsin State Journal.

The complete obituary is here:
Obituary for Demita Anne Gerber


Demita Anne Gerber, director of the Monona Public Library, died June 12, 2010, in HospiceCare of Madison....

....She was born Demita Anne Ashley on Oct. 8, 1942, in Phoenix, Ariz. 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.....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, N.Y., 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....

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 and his wife, Molly Wesling; her son, Matthew Gerber of Longmont, Colo., and his wife, Heather; four grandchildren, Nicholas and Oliver of Madison, and Victor and Elizabeth of Longmont; brothers, Fred Ashley of Cherry Hill, N.J., and Russell Ashley of Riverdale, N.Y.; sister, Diane Dokos of San Juan Capistrano, Calif.; former husband, Dean Gerber of Santa Fe, N.M.; and many dear friends in New York, Arizona and Wisconsin.

A memorial meeting will be held on Saturday, July 31, 2010, at 9 a.m. in the Atrium at OLBRICH BOTANICAL GARDENS, 3330 Atwood Ave., Madison. All are invited to come and share memories of Demita. She is much missed, but her remarkable spirit lives on in the hearts of those whose lives she touched.

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