Jasper Engines & Transmissions mourns the loss of
its longest-serving associate, Gervase Schwenk. Gervase succumbed to
cancer Sept. 8, at the age of 86.
only do we lose a good friend, unbelievable businessman and chairman,
but truly a gentle giant who was extremely humble and cared more about
others than he cared about himself,” said JASPER President Doug Bawel.
“His loss will be tough, but his legacy must live on.”
Gervase’s passing closes the book on an amazing 64-year career with
JASPER dating back to April 1, 1946. A World War II veteran, Gervase
was hired by Jasper founders Hilda and Alvin Ruxer as a bookkeeper.
Though Gervase had very little formal higher education, he soon became
involved in all phases of Jasper Engines & Transmissions, serving
as general manager, building-construction planner and equipment
designer. A self-taught computer programmer, Gervase has written
company computer programs. Among other activities, he managed the
company’s investments and finances. Gervase was recently recognized as
in the top 10 percent of fund managers in the United States.
Friends remember Gervase as a man who loved life. This was reflected by
his hobbies of boating, water skiing, jet skiing, bicycling,
motorcycling, snow skiing, fishing, RV’ing and grand parenting. He had
a well-earned reputation for thriftiness. A co-worker remembered
Gervase as being the first on the ski lift in the morning, and the last
to leave the slopes at night so that he would “get his money’s worth,”
even though as a senior citizen of 70-plus, he got in free. It was that
same thrift, along with innovative thinking, that made Gervase “the
answer man,” the one everyone turned to when there was a problem. He is
remembered as an associate who implemented Alvin Ruxer’s business
ideas, yet remained modest, and famously downplayed the uniqueness of
his own efforts for the company.
“Although we all have our special memories, and I’m sure many of those
will be shared, each of us must work a little smarter to ensure the
foundation Gervase has laid continues,” added Bawel.
Gervase’s skills as a businessman, and his love of community, caused
many organizations in Southern Indiana to seek his counsel. He was an
active board member of Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center in
Jasper, and on the Board of Catholic Foundation of Southwestern
Indiana. Gervase previously served on the Vincennes University
Foundation Board, The Dubois County Community Foundation Board for 10
years, the Precious Blood Capital Campaign, the Sisters of Saint
Benedict (EAC and Investments Committee), the Board of Directors for
Fifth Third Bank and the Saint Meinrad Archabbey Endowment Committee.
Gervase was the recipient of the President’s Community Excellence Award
in 2009 by the Jasper Chamber of Commerce, which pays special
recognition to an individual who has done an outstanding job in making
Jasper a better place to live. He was also the recipient of the Boy
Scout Distinguished Service Award in 1995, and the Brute Society Award
When considering a major decision for the company, or at home,
Gervase’s philosophy was “Let’s sleep on it.” Well Gervase, you have
earned a much deserved rest. Sleep Well, Good Friend.