Gerhard Bedding, 94, of Keene, passed peacefully in the comfort of home surrounded by the love of his family on Sunday, April 16, 2023.Gerhard was born Jan. 11, 1929, on the Isle of Java — at that time part of the Dutch East Indies. He was the second of five children born to Willem and Nora Thal Larsen Bedding. He moved to the Netherlands just before World War 2 and lived through the Nazi occupation of 1940-45.
After graduation from Amsterdam’s Lyceum in 1947, Gerhard attended a business college, now Nyenrode University. After a stint in the business world, he studied social psychology at the University of Amsterdam, completing a candidate’s degree in 1955. Gerhard attended Wesleyan University’s summer school to study science and American literature. (MALS 1967) His master’s thesis was titled “Emerson and Science.”
During his first trip to the U.S. in 1952, he hitchhiked from coast to coast. He met May Van Bueren and married her in Amsterdam (1954). In 1955, they emigrated to the U.S., where Gerhard studied at the University of Chicago (M.A. education, 1957).
From 1957 to 1970 he served as a teacher at the Waldorf School in Garden City, N.Y. He also edited the Science Information Exchange, a journal for Waldorf teachers. Strongly drawn by the charms of country living, in 1970 the Bedding family moved to the Berkshires in Massachusetts to live in a cooperative housing community: Beaver Hills, Otis. Beaver Hills’ covenants were drafted by Gerhard. He taught in the Stockbridge Public Schools. From 1971 to 1975, he worked as an editor/science writer at Xerox Education Publications in Middleton, Conn., producing a new science journal for the middle grades. In 1975, Gerhard became a classroom teacher again, at Green Meadow Waldorf School in Chestnut Ridge, N.Y. He also served as the school’s business manager. In 1979 he returned to the Garden City Waldorf School, where he taught until 1988.
Gerhard and May were amicably divorced in 1981. Having fallen in love with New Hampshire’s Monadnock Region during vacations, Gerhard moved to Troy in 1988, building a house with a grand view of Mt. Monadnock. As a member of the Keene Chorale, he met and courted Barbara Eames Lake. The two decided to marry in 1992 and moved to Keene in 1994.
Gerhard entered into several new adventures in the Monadnock Region. First, he developed his Troy land into a new community with covenants specifying respect for neighbors and for the environment. He served as local director of Work Opportunities Unlimited, helping handicapped people find jobs. Later, he filled an interim position as assistant director of Camp Glen Brook in Marlborough, then tutored at Monadnock Waldorf School until 1998.
Gerhard was also a volunteer and activist: Hospice, Keene’s Solid Waste Committee, Aurum Foundation N.H. Citizens for Health Freedom N.H. Sierra Club, Second Look, Monadnock 9/11 Truth Alliance, Vaccine Advisory Committee (N.H. Department of Health) and National Vaccine Information Center. In 1998, he organized a conference in Manchester titled “Vaccinations and Child Health.”Gerhard always had a thirst for adventure. He loved skiing, sailing, hiking, dancing and playing the recorder. He has supported truth and justice, education that reaches both head and heart, caring for Mother Earth.Survivors include daughter Karen, son Erik, sister Magda, grandchildren Sara, Tim and Kate, and many extended family members.Gerhard would like to draw attention to recent solid scientific research showing clearly that individual consciousness continues even when the brain is clinically dead. Food for thought here!
He wrote this obituary.
Memorial donations can be made to Hospice at HCS, 312 Marlboro St., Keene, NH 03431; Ashuelot Concerts, P.O. Box 181, Keene, NH 03431; or the music program at Gathering Waters Chartered Public School, 98 South Lincoln St., Keene, NH 03431.
Gerhard has been a thoughtful influence and dear friend to so many. His family is much bigger than blood relations. Having organized New Hampshire Citizens for Health Freedom in the 1990’s and put extensive energy into raising awareness about matters of scientific integrity and human autonomy, he passed a torch on to me and this organization – Health Freedom NH. In his 90’s he was still promoting and encouraging and advising such liberty minded activism efforts. He also taught my daughter to play the recorder. We don’t doubt that his individual consciousness continues along with the imprints he left in this world. With love and gratitude, Larisa Trexler, RN