Pictured from left: Stephen J. Forman, M.D., leader of the Hematologic Malignancies and Stem Cell Transplantation Institute; Mark Goldman, chief operating officer and chief counsel of the Gehr Group and trustee of the Gehr Family Foundation; Crystal Gehr, trustee of the Gehr Family Foundation; Guido Marcucci, M.D., director of the Gehr Family Center for Leukemia Research; David Lifschitz, president and chief executive officer of the Gehr Group and trustee of the Gehr Family Foundation; Robert W. Stone, president and CEO of City of Hope
 

The Gehr Family Center for Leukemia Research is funded by a transformative gift from the Gehr Family Foundation.

A driven, inventive entrepreneur, Norbert Gehr was willing to work seven days a week — and cross continents — to pursue his dreams.

“I thrive on challenges, that’s what makes me tick,” he once said.

So, when faced with a diagnosis of leukemia in 2014, he signed on for a bone marrow transplant at City of Hope. At the same time, he laid the groundwork for future breakthroughs in leukemia research with the establishment of the Gehr Family Foundation. Among other causes, the foundation invests in innovative medical science — including its gifts to launch the Gehr Family Center for Leukemia Research at City of Hope in 2015. Gehr lost his battle with leukemia in February 2015.

“Norbert knew more discoveries were coming, but his illness was too advanced to benefit. His wish was to help in finding a cure for leukemia,” said David Lifschitz, a trustee of the Gehr Family Foundation, president and CEO of the Gehr Group and Gehr’s colleague for 22 years. Keeping his eye on tomorrow while taking risks today was one of Gehr’s best-known traits.

At 17, he traveled alone to America from his birthplace in Brazil. After attending business school at UCLA, Gehr sold his car to start his first business. In 1975, he opened his own manufacturing facility to produce wire and cable products. Over the next four decades, the tireless CEO grew the Gehr Group into a multinational holding company.

“Love what you do,” he said, and excellence will follow. It’s a philosophy the Gehr Family Foundation now continues in his name.