On January 18, 2020, Alan (Al) Paul Gerber passed away unexpectedly at the age of 67.
Al viewed VFG as family. Our feelings towards Al were and are certainly reciprocated. He was having too much fun to consider retirement. He loved helping customers and figuring out how he and VFG could make a positive impact.
More than one of our team has described Al as a tremendous mentor and even a father figure. His laugh was goofy and infectious. He had a unique personality that could be both deliberate and loving at the same time. He fit in very well at VFG and we loved him very much.
Al was the devoted husband of Elizabeth Rose Gerber (nee Feldherr) and the loving father of Michelle Gerber Hendler and Rachel Gerber Kule as well as caring father-in-law to David Hendler and Matthew Kule. Al had many roles in the family, including but not limited to, being the son of Beatrice (Finkle) Strome, Sidney Strome and Samuel Gerber, the grandfather of Charlotte Hendler, brother of Marsha Gerber, Diane Slater, Stephen Strome, Sandra Spaneas and the late Scott Strome, brother in-law to Louise Frebowitz, Kenny Frebowitz and Paul Slater, Uncle to Matthew Slater, Elyssa Levy, Alex Frebowitz, David Frebowitz, and Stuart Strome. His family relied on him for optimism, laughter, advice on every single aspect of life, fun times and even political banter.
Al was a man of action, integrity, self-respect, humility and appreciation for others. He had a larger than life personality and his love of people, learning and life in general was inspiring. Everyone who knew Al would describe him as kind, humble, optimistic, determined, hilarious, and selfless, among many other positive attributes. In his free time, Al focused on spending time with his family and friends by sharing stories, attending and/or watching Red Sox and Patriots games, playing a friendly round of golf, watching movies, consuming the news, taking a walk, relaxing on the beach, or going to breakfast or lunch.
Al was born in Lynn, Massachusetts and raised in Marblehead and Swampscott. He graduated Swampscott High, class of 1969, and then went on to earn his Bachelor in Science in Business Administration from Northeastern University and Masters of Business Administration from Suffolk University. In 1988, he got a promotion at CIT Group and moved his family to Fort Washington, PA, where they have lived since then. With decades of experience in the commercial lending market, Al spent 35 years as a sales executive at CIT Group, where he earned numerous awards. Most recently, Al served as VP, National Sales at VFG. For the past three years, he also proudly served as the Chief Financial Officer and strategic advisor of PURSUIT PR, his daughter Rachel’s company, and they both cherished the precious opportunity to work together.
Al had a real zest for life. He felt that “life is good”, “meant to be enjoyed” and that it was critical to “turn lemons into lemonade” and “stay positive”. His family is doing their best to live their fullest lives in his honor and to continue his meaningful legacy. Al is already missed so much by everyone who loves him. He was a true mensch, mentor, leader, friend and the epitome of a family man.
Contributions in Al’s memory may be made to Alzheimer’s Association, www.alz.org/delval.
On November 7, 2019 VFG lost our dear friend and brother Robert Burbeck.
Robert fought a long and hard fight against cancer while keeping an unbelievably positive attitude through it all.
Robert was raised primarily in southern California and Portland, Oregon. While attending Portland State University, he was offered a chance by Orix Credit Alliance, his then current employer, to relocate to Atlanta, GA to start a small ticket vendor office. Robert went on to work for several highly regarded equipment leasing and financing companies such as CIT Group, Sterling Bank, TCF Equipment Finance and CNH Capital. Including his time at VFG, he spent over 25 years in the industry.
Robert joined VFG on Feb. 2, 2009 and spent close to 11 years employed here. Robert was loved dearly by his VFG family and friends. He embodied a spirit of teamwork and service to others. Robert had a zeal for life and loved to win. He never met a stranger, and was always willing to help. He was a bulldog with a heart! We miss his tenacity, spirit and friendship.
He faced life’s ups and downs with both smiles and grit and was always armed with kind words and gratitude for his colleagues, vendors and customers. We remember Robert for his positive attitude. He was the guy you wanted on your team and the VFG family is grateful to have had a chance to share time with Robert.
Robert was multi-talented and competitively driven his entire adult life. His professional and personal interests extended beyond the equipment lease financing business.
The movie Sea Biscuit, which Robert and his wife Kenna saw on a family trip to West Virginia during the early years of their marriage, would prove to be an inspiration for their many successful adventures in the Arabian horse industry starting in 2004.
Robert didn’t know how to do things half-way. He was an “all-in” guy who dedicated himself fully to his passions and crafts. As his love of the Arabian horse industry grew, he and Kenna experienced wonderful successes together. In partnership with seven other couples, Robert and Kenna acquired the Arabian horse Marhaabah as a yearling. Marhaabah would become a US National Champion in multiple categories (and several of its foals would enjoy similar success).
As his interest in horses grew, so did his passion for capturing their beauty on film and video. Eventually, he and Kenna would start a small production company that specialized in photography and video. Although he was self-taught, the high quality of Robert’s work enabled him to pick up several clients in his “spare time.” During the 1996 Olympics, Robert was honored to be the coordinator for over 400 production volunteers for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies in Atlanta, GA.
Robert was never very good at sitting still. Even his vacations were “work.” Despite the fact that the last three years of his life were physically the hardest, there was never a complaint. He had work to do. No matter the obstacles in front of him, when he had the desire and vision to complete a project, he would always come through – somehow.
Through their love and success in the horse industry, the videography and photography industry, and Robert’s success in the equipment leasing and finance industry, Robert and Kenna would come to realize their dream of owning a farm together in Waleska, GA.
In addition to his beloved wife Kenna, Robert is survived by his children; Shawna Burcher (Marc), Laura Lane, and Asa Clagg (Ashley). Six grandchildren; Kaylynn & Koltyn Carpenter, Addison, Ava, & Oliver Clagg, and Beau Burcher. Parents; Donnadae Placencia (Reyes) and David Burbeck (Deb). Siblings; Tamalyn Meller (Jeremy) and Timothy Placencia (Emily). Nephew and niece; siblings Gavin Placencia and Eva Placencia. Grandmother; Barbara Burbeck.
Rest in peace, Robert. You are missed and not forgotten.