Obituary of Gert Stern
Gert Stern was born on April 20, 1927 in Iserlohn, Germany to Siegfried and Sophie Stern. In May 1939, Gert and his family were able to get passage to Kenya, to escape the Nazi regime. Sadly, Gert’s older brother Hans, who was in school in Holland perished in Auschwitz during the Holocaust. In Kenya, Siegfried worked as a farm manager in the Kitale area. Tragically, Siegfried died when Gert was 15, at which time Gert left school to support his mother and found employment with the Soil Conservation Service.
His employer realized Gert’s potential and encouraged him to finish school and study for entrance to a British University. Gert graduated from Glasgow University in 1953 with a degree in Agriculture. He then returned to Kenya and joined the Kenya Agriculture Department.
In 1962, while Head of Agricultural Education at Siriba Training College, he met Elizabeth Webb who was a teacher at the college. A year later, Gert was appointed provincial Agriculture Officer of the coastal region. Gert and Elizabeth were married on December 30th, 1963 in Mombasa, Kenya. Their three children Rachel, Jonathan and Helen were all born in Kenya.
In 1970 Gert and family moved to Washington DC where Gert joined the World Bank as an Agriculturalist. In his 22 year career at the World Bank, Gert led many impactful projects, primarily in India and East Africa.
After retiring in 1992, Gert and Elizabeth enjoyed their time traveling the World and spending their summers in Castle Green, Elizabeth’s home in West Wales. In his retirement, he also volunteered for both the Master Gardener program in Fairfax County and at Meadowlark Gardens.
Gert was a devoted husband and a kind and loving father and grandfather. He treated everyone he met with respect and touched the lives of all around him. Gert loved to garden in his spare time both in his home in McLean and in Elizabeth’s home in Wales. He was an avid sports fan, and particularly enjoyed watching Tennis, English Football, Rugby and Cricket. He and Elizabeth also spent many happy evenings at the theater and opera.
Gert is survived by his wife Elizabeth, son Jonathan, daughters Rachel and Helen and 7 grandchildren (Elizabeth, Rebecca, Julia, Kirra, Kate, Lilah and James ).
A memorial service will be held in the spring in McLean, VA. Please continue to check back for details.
In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made in his name to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum or the St. John’s Episcopal Church Endowment Fund (6715 Georgetown Pike, P.O. Box 457, McLean VA 22101-0457.)