Don Gebert, founder of Interfaith of The Woodlands, remembered in The Woodlands

Photos in the home of Barbara and the late Don Gebert show the couple and other family members over their decades together. (Vanessa Holt/Community Impact Newspaper)
Photos in the home of Barbara and the late Don Gebert show the couple and other family members over their decades together. (Vanessa Holt/Community Impact Newspaper)

Photos in the home of Barbara and the late Don Gebert show the couple and other family members over their decades together. (Vanessa Holt/Community Impact Newspaper)

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Don and Barbara and Gebert worked as missionaries in Guyana in the 1950s and their family eventually grew to five children. (Courtesy Barbara Gebert)
When Don Gebert moved to The Woodlands from Philadelphia in 1975, he was charged to “innovate” in the mission of founding religious resources for the fledgling community.

Gebert died March 15 at the age of 91, but his innovations live on in the form of Interfaith of The Woodlands as well as other organizations he helped to found such as Montgomery County Health Services and the community’s first hospital.

“Reverend Don Gebert was an amazing individual who cared about others to the fullest extent and believed that it was the responsibility for people to take care of those less fortunate,” said Ann Snyder, a member of The Woodlands Township board of directors and a former president of Interfaith.

The Woodlands Township proclaimed March 31 this year as Reverend Don Gebert Day in honor of his contributions.

Barbara Gebert said her husband had followed the call to ministry after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania business school. He had expected to follow his father into the carpet business, but his beliefs took the couple on mission work in Guyana before they settled on the east coast and moved to The Woodlands in the 1970s.

The couple met as teenagers, and they have five children together and well as eight grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and one on the way, Barbara Gebert said.

Missy Herndon, Interfaith’s president and CEO, remembered Don as a friend and mentor for herself and for the organization.

“He was so proud of the organization he helped create and what it has become today,” she said.

Snyder said as families moved into The Woodlands in its early days in the 1970s, he would follow the moving truck to greet the newcomers and help to connect families to each other and to places of worship. When Gebert first arrived there were fewer than 100 residents.

Snyder recounted a story Barbara Gebert also recalled as an often-told example of the kind of steps Gebert took to ensure the community’s needs were met.

“One of my favorite memories of Rev. Gebert is when he met with [The Woodlands founder George] Mitchell requesting land for a child care center. He took a group of moms and their young children who sat outside Mr. Mitchell’s office. Needless to say, land was granted.”

A celebration of life service for Don Gebert will be held June 12 at 1 p.m. at Lord of Life Lutheran Church, 3801 S. Panther Creek Drive, The Woodlands.
By Vanessa Holt
A resident of the Houston area since 2011, Vanessa began working in community journalism in her home state of New Jersey in 1996. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2016 as a reporter for the Spring/Klein edition and became editor of that paper in March 2017 and editor of The Woodlands edition in January 2019.


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