Charles “Chet” William Gerdts III, a long-time resident of Darien, died peacefully on Thursday, Feb. 16, in New York City. He was 58.
He was born to Charles W. Gerdts Jr. and Catherine Marie Jaicks on March 30, 1953, in New York City. He graduated from the Cranbrook School in 1971 before attending the University of Michigan, where he joined the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and was also a member of the honor society Michigama.
While studying in Ann Arbor, he met and fell in love with Elizabeth Hume, his future wife. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1975, followed by his juris doctorate in 1978 from the Vanderbilt University Law School, where he was a member of the Law Review.
Mr. and Mrs. Gerdts married and moved to Manhattan, where he began his legal career with the firm of Donovan Leisure Newton & Irvine and became a partner of the firm in 1986. After 20 years with Donovan Leisure, he joined Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, serving as the managing partner for the litigation department and as a member of the firm’s executive committee. In 2002, Mr. Gerdts became the PricewaterhouseCoopers U.S. firm’s General Counsel, serving as the U.S. firm’s Chief Risk Officer and advisor to the Board of Partners and Principals.
He was a member of the New York City Bar Association’s 2006 Task Force on the Lawyer’s Role in Corporate Governance, served on the ABA’s Presidential Task Force on the Attorney-Client Privilege, was a member of the Vanderbilt University School of Law’s National Council and the Board of Directors for the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law.
“Chet was a loyal friend and was driven by a belief that everyone should strive to reach their greatest potential,” his family said. “He combined this drive with a sharp intellect, a keen sense of humor, kindness, and a deep love for his family.”
Besides his wife of 32 years, Mr. Gerdts is survived by his children, Emily Eaton Gerdts and Charles W. Gerdts IV; five brothers, two sisters, and a number of nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, March 3, at 1, atNoroton Presbyterian Church, 2011 Post Road, Darien.
Memorial donations may be made to the Charles W. Gerdts, III Scholarship Fund. Visit CharlesGerdts.com for details.