GSW co-founder Gerbig dead at 66

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GSW Worldwide co-founder Bob Gerbig has died at 66.

Gerbig, who passed away due to cardiovascular complications November 28, is survived by his wife Teri, three adult children and two step-children. He started out in pharmaceuticals with Marion Merrell-Dow in 1969 before heading to Abbott Labs' Ross Products Division, where he became the youngest product manager in the company, rising to director of pharmaceutical product management four years later. He left Abbott to launch Gerbig, Snell/Weisheimer & Associates with Rick Weisheimer and Chris Snell in 1977.

The Westerville, Ohio-based firm established itself as a creative force, becoming the flagship shop of the Inchord indie agency network, which was acquired by Ventiv in 2005. Gerbig retired in 2000 but kept busy with his Gerbig, Snell/Weisheimer Healthcare Initiative, a non-profit that provides healthcare services to seniors. He was also on the boards of The James Cancer Hospital, Solove Research Institute and the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts, as well as doing a stint as business and industry chairman for the Central Ohio Heart Association.

“He was not only a consummate professional and visionary, he was also a consummate family man,” said inVentiv chief Blane Walter. “Bob's drive not only spearheaded innovative practices, he forever changed the industry by proving that an advertising agency does not need to be based in New York or Chicago to be successful.”

“Bob lived large, and he loved larger.” said Karen Kasich, wife of Ohio Governor John Kasich and a former GSW employee. “He was like one of our Great Lakes: so calm on the surface, but so deep below.”

The firm, which last year absorbed sibling shop Stonefly and launched a digital development shop, iQ, employs around 500 in the US, and 200 more throughout Australia, Japan, Russia, the Middle East, Europe, Canada, Mexico and Brazil.

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