Craig Gernhardt lived a very colorful life, many would say unconventional, but he did it strictly on his terms. He sadly passed away on June 1, 2022 of natural causes. Craig is preceded in death by his father, Ralph Paul Gernhardt and his mother, Marilyn J. Gernhardt and survived by a sister, Christy Benton of McDonough, Georgia, numerous nephews and a niece and cousins.
Craig graduated from high school in Elkhorn Wisconsin class of 1979 and after graduation moved to Chicago where he went to work delivering newspapers for his father at Gay Chicago Magazine. That is where Craig developed his love for journalism and photo journalism. He resided in the Rogers park area and become an outspoken advocate for those without a voice, giving birth to a Blog: The Broken Heart of Rogers Park. Craig definitely had grit. He was a bicycle courier in the city delivering in all types of weather; not for the faint of heart. He was co-owner of a flower shop in the late 90’s that was on the corner of Clark and Wilson. One of his favorite pastimes in Chicago during the 90’s encompassed his love of the Cubs. He was caught spending many hours at Wrigley Field chasing homerun balls out on Waveland Ave. He had quite the reputation and was well known as “Wisconsin” for ball-hawking.
Craig had many passions and he loved animals of all kinds. While in Wisconsin he competed in 4-H horse events such as pole bending and barrel racing. His other major passion was motorcycles and AMA Endurocross. While he did some racing himself, he also found himself writing for some cycle publications. Not having children of his own, he loved to support and follow his cousin’s children in their athletic endeavors. While he may not have chosen his words with tact, his heart was in the right place (though one may not have realized it).
Life was not always easy for Craig and over the years he found himself in an unpredictable circumstance that put him living on the streets. Craig had a very challenging personality and could be difficult to love, but he had a bit of charm that he managed to keep afloat. A good word to describe Craig would be: antagonist. However, many have said that he had a big heart.
Later in life, Craig was very fortunate to seek help from PADS of Lake County. It was there that he found resources that allowed him to obtain housing, regain his self-esteem and dignity.
An informal memorial is planned for Craig during Labor Day weekend in Elkhorn Wisconsin, Sunday, September 4th on the family farm. Memorial donations are welcome in his name to PADS of Lake County (www.padlakecounty.org) or Pets of the Homeless (www.petsofthehomeless.org).