Charles “Tom” Gehrken

Charles T. Gehrken, lost his five-year battle with cancer on Sept. 23 at his Sun Lakes home, surrounded by family and friends.

Tom was born on Sept. 7, 1945 in Kansas City, Mo. to Charles and Miriam Gehrken.

He spent his early years in Douglas and Bisbee, Ariz.

His family moved to California in 1954 and settled in Upland where Tom graduated from Upland High School.

He attended Chaffey College before joining the Air Force in 1965.

Tom served his enlistment at Travis Air Force Base and was honorably discharged in 1969 with the rank of sergeant.

In the early 1970s Tom attended California Polytechnic University, Pomona and earned a bachelor’s degree in business.

After college he got a job at Sunkist in Ontario, where he met and married his first wife Charlene Severson.

Their daughter Erika was born in 1977.

In 1975 Tom began working for the city of Riverside where he later met and married his second wife Linda Hampton in 1986.

With Linda he inherited four children: Vanessa (Chris Bonnevie) Whitfield, McCoy Whitfield (Lisa McGuire), Heather (Nicholas Gray) Gonzales, and Jared Gonzales.

Tom retired in 2011, after serving 36 years with the city of Riverside.

In 2001, Tom and Linda built their dream home in Sun Lakes where they enjoyed the many activities of the community; he loved the many trips through the recreation department, where he met lovely friends and neighbors.

Tom loved life and people and was loved by many.

He is missed.

To date, Tom and Linda have nine grandchildren: Christopher, Amanda (Nate Ogden), and Stevie Bonnevie, McCoy Whitfield IV, Mackenzie Lane, Mathias Spohn, Braidon Gray, Dane Bicondova Gehrken and Jaydon Carlson.

Tom is survived by his sister Gail (Craig) Wetzler and her family.

Gravesite service will be held for Charles “Tom” Gehrken on Saturday, Oct. 26 at 11 a.m. at Desert Lawn Cemetery in Calimesa.

There will be an Air Force color guard.

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