Outstanding Kansas City Woman of the Month
Mary Ann Gerber
Just today I spoke with Mary Ann Gerber, our next Woman of Nobility! I called to ask her what her age was because to me she is a timeless icon. I caught her at her office, having the flu, had just come in for a ‘moment’. When I look at this dynamic business trail blazer, I see a Mother and a doting Grandmother first, coupled with a force of business savvy. This Lively lady says “We all have the lottery within us!” Truer words were never spoken!!
When I first met Mary Ann Gerber approximately 22 years ago, she would come in to my store and buy the most tasteful impeccable jewelry. I would always look forward to her visits as her wit and sense of humor kept me laughing for days. When you meet Mary Ann you feel as if you are visiting with Mary Poppins (she can make anything happen), a clean version of Joan Rivers, and a Harvard professor. A very multifaceted woman for all seasons! Even stray cats and dogs find their way into Mary Ann’s home, and she gives her furry companions a life we would envy. Never do her cherished pets go to the vet – the mountain comes to Mary Ann!
It is her sensory intuition that helps this lady follow her instincts with a sense of justice that is so fierce she will never back down to an injustice being done! Accolades? “No,” she says “I’m just a mom,” and I say a great one at that. ~ Zoe Harrington
Life is just too short to squander insists Mary Ann Gerber, the March Woman of Nobility, a lesson she learned early in life. When she was 16, she experienced the heartbreaking loss of her mother to a sudden heart attack, something that changed her life and her outlook forever.
“She was young and it was completely unexpected. Something like this really makes you think about life, how short it is, and how important it is to spend it wisely,” mused Gerber.
After her mother’s death, many things changed. Her father traveled for work and was gone much of the time, which left her and a younger sibling mostly on their own.
“Though we had support from my grandmother who helped raise us after that point, in many ways we had to grow up very quickly. Fortunately my mother, who was a working mom, taught me how to cook, clean, sew, and all that is necessary to maintain a household.”
Calling her mother’s death the most significant event in her life, Gerber explained how the event has value even now. “We were forced to enter adulthood which made me see things realistically. Life is short; people are people and make mistakes. You must have patience, forgive and keep moving on. I tell my kids all the time — just don’t hate. “
Family is central to Gerber’s life, and all of them have a part in the family business, GC Labels, a Stilwell, Kansas company specializing in items to support the transportation and handling of hazardous materials.
“My ex-husband and I started the company in 1989. I acquired the assets when we divorced in 2000. Though we divorced, we remain very congenial, and he continues to work in the business as well, along with our adult children. This is a family business and I want it to continue long after I am gone.”
Calling herself strong-willed, the soft-spoken Gerber determines to make a difference in an area that she feels passionately about, bettering the lives of the animal population. In addition to caring for many cats she has herself rescued, she also participated in a catch and release program.
“We catch feral and stray cats and give them their shots and have them neutered or spayed so that the pet population is not increasing. Every cat deserves a loving home.”
In all things, Gerber aims to give her best, and that she claims is the easiest way to make a difference. “Life is hard, but it is good. Give your best because you never know how important things are until they are gone.”