Craig Alan Gandert

February 05, 1957 ‒ January 12, 2011

Mansfield, Ohio

MANSFIELD – “Nobody cares about POC (poor old

Craig)”, was Craig Gandert’s self-deprecating

little pity party – his way of expressing his

self-reliance, and pulling a smile and a

little sympathy into a situation. He was big

on sympathy…and kindness …and generosity. In

fact, the only bad thing Craig did was care

too much – help someone too much – and it led

to his death Wednesday evening January 12,

2011, two days before his planned treatment

and recovery program was to begin. He was 53.

Born Craig Alan Gandert in Mansfield

on February 5, 1957, he was graduated from

Malabar High School in 1975, and attended The

Ohio State University’s Wooster Agricultural

Institute.

Craig began working in his family’s

garage door business at the age of 15. In

1990 he founded Gandert Door Company. “I’m

the only one who’d hire myself” he’d quip,

and worked out of his basement and home

garage for several years. He relocated the

business to The Bissman Building before

building its current home in Ontario. Blessed

with business savvy and an ability to

approach commerce “outside the box”, Craig

overcame his dyslexia and grew the business

to include a fleet of seven trucks that cover

and service four counties, offering the

LiftMaster, CHI and Overhead door brands. His

television ads highlighted his son Will, or a

commercial persona including “Bob Martin” (an

everyman character who backed into his own

garage door) or a Dragnet detective.

As a second job, Craig worked for

Richland Newhope as an attendant at Glendale

House an adult residency on the city’s near

south side. His special needs aunt Betty,

along with his special needs friends Marjie

Jones, Wayne Ethel and Bobby Shaull

cultivated Craig’s compassionate side, and

led to his work at Glendale House. Aunt Betty

and Marjie are now deceased, but Wayne and

Bobby still hold a very special spot in

Craig’s heart.

In the early 80s, while attending the

singles Bible Study that was held at the

former Yellow Deli in downtown Mansfield, he

met Annette Taylor. He told Annette “If you

buy me a Harley, I’ll marry you”. On March

1, 1982, he invited Annette to his AA

meeting, where Craig gave his life story – he

wanted to be sure she knew what she was

getting into. That day became Trednag Day

(Gandert spelled backwards), the day of their

engagement, complete with his new Harley –

Annette had a miniature die-cast Harley toy

in her pocket!

Craig had a great singing voice, and

was often compared to Huey Lewis of Huey

Lewis and the News. He sang lead vocals and

played harmonica for local bands The

Manhattan Project, Park Avenue Band, and Just

Passin’ Thru and appeared on JPT’s self

titled album in 1985. Quite accomplished on

the air guitar, Craig performed with big arm-

swinging hard-strumming licks that modeled

his passion for music. He sang at a lot of

proms, weddings, funerals and worship

services in the area, and always had the

music blaring at his shop and home.

A performer both on and off the

stage, Craig had the “It Factor” – impeccable

timing for humor coupled with a magnetic

personality. Just his presence commanded the

attention in a room, and he did like to be

the center of attention. His magnetic

personality remained whether he was poor or

rich, healthy or ill, rational or random.

Amazed at God’s forgiveness and

Christ’s redemptive work, Craig often quoted

Galations 2:19-21 “For through the law I died

to the law so that I might live for God. I

have been crucified with Christ and I no

longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life

I now live in the body, I live by faith in

the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself

for me. I do not set aside the grace of God,

for if righteousness could be gained through

the law, Christ died for nothing!” His

compelling character and emotional testimony

of his Christian faith led many people to a

saving knowledge of his Lord Jesus Christ.

His idioms (or Hermisms as his family

called them…a nod to his father’s nickname)

became classics: “I’m gonna slap you so hard

your whole family is gonna fall down.” To

“Alright, somebody’s getting a whooping”.

Craig laughed at himself long before anyone

else did, and was always a hit with his son’s

friends.

“That’s what drugs did for me” was

his common explanation for his failures and

“I picked a bad day to stop drinking” to

explain his frustration with day to day

stress.

In addition to Gandert Door, Craig

owned and operated Trednag investments –

residential and commercial rental properties,

as well as Annette’s Alpacas, a fiber and

breeding farm for the exotic animals.

He and Annette were foster parents

from 1987 to 1992 for over 25 foster

children. Craig continued to “foster” and

care for folks: his uncle Bill, and his

parents – caring for them in his home.

Putting his faith into action, Craig’s home

was always open to anyone down and out.

Craig was a man’s man, who wore his

heart on his sleeve – never afraid to show

his emotions. He was very good at

relationships and could get out of the

tightest of situations “smelling like a

rose”.

What began as an endearing childhood

ickname, “Haskell” grew to become Craig’s

dark alter-ego who fought with Craig’s sunny

personality and desire to live a sober and

productive life.

He is survived by his wife Annette

(Taylor) Gandert; their son Will Gandert of

Mansfield; his mother Sara (Scott) Gandert of

Mansfield; a sister and brother-in-law

Kathleen “Kay” Gandert Fowler & Mark Fowler

of Mansfield; brothers and sisters-in-law

Scott & Tam Gandert of Alpharetta, GA and

Robert William & Christina Gandert of

Worthington; his father-in-law and mother-in-

law Richard & Nora Taylor of Mansfield; a

large extended step family including his step

father-in-law William Ryder of Mansfield;

sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law Linda &

Gregg Gleisinger and Starla Taylor all of

Mansfield, Mike & Bev Ryder and Cheryl & Phil

Mayton all of Lexington; and nephews and

ieces Eric Gleisinger, Sarah Krinsky, Mikey

Gandert, Audra Gandert, and Ava Gandert.

He was preceded in death by his

father Robert “Herm” Gandert on December 7,

2006, and also by his cherished uncle William

Farber Gandert on June 15, 2006. Also

deceased is his paternal grandmother Della

Gandert, and his mother-in-law Ella Mae Ryder

The Gandert family will receive

friends Monday, January 17, 2011 from 2 to 7

p.m. in the auditorium of Crossroads

Community Church, 1188 Park Avenue West,

Mansfield, where a worship service, giving

glory to God for the life of Craig Gandert

will be held Tuesday at 11 a.m. The Revs. Tim

Armstrong and David Adkins will speak. Burial

will follow in Mansfield Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, his family

suggests contributions in Craig’s memory to

benefit Sojourner Recovery Services,

Mansfield’s new opiate treatment center.

The Marion Avenue Snyder Funeral Home

is honored to serve the Gandert family, and

private condolences to them may be made on

line at: www.snyderfuneralhomes.com