Gerhard's original design. A founding member of Glass Music International (GMI), he was a central figure in all of the organization's events.
Gerhard was a Master of what is known as European Flameworking. Often he could rotate and repair large, awkward apparatus on the bench without the aid of rollers, a stand, or even a blowhose! He was able to produce clean seals, precision tolerances, large sweeping bends and lifelike medical models with crude equipment and excellent speed.
Over the span of his 36 years as President and Master Glassblower at G. Finkenbeiner Inc., Gerhard designed and fabricated complex Borosilicate and Quartz apparatus for virtually every University Chemistry, Physics, and Semiconductor lab in the Boston Area. His knowledge of application was extraordinary. He one of the first to employ torches made of Quartz to solve contamination problems.
The unresolved final chapter of Gerhard's life unfolded with his disappearance of May 6th, 1999. That day he told his workers he was going "home for a moment" around lunchtime, but at sometime shortly afterwards he went to Norwood Airport. Gerhard made an impulse flight that day, his presumed direction being towards New Hampshire where he had a small dwelling and glass shop. He went south instead, and radar contact was lost over Carver, MA. Still unaware of his flight, his concerned co-workers reported Gerhard missing the next day. Poor weather and misinformation hindered the air and ground search that followed for nearly two weeks with no results. A $10,000 reward is being offered for the whereabouts of Gerhard Finkenbeiner and his plane, a Piper arrow N8235Z
Gerhard is survived by three sons, Bertrand, Stephan and Pascal and many grandchildren. He is also mourned and dearly missed by his "work family" comprised of Thomas & Diane Hession and Tim Nickerson, as well as former co workers Lisa Allen, Julie Malchow and Don Sellar.
As is so often the case, we appreciate those who are truly extraordinary only after they are gone.
Gerhard was one of those people for whom there will never be an equal or replacement.