Westchester County

Herbert Gerlach

Herbert Clinton Gerlach

Herbert Gerlach, Westchester County Executive, 1941-1953

Herbert Clinton Gerlach was named interim county executive in August 1941, and elected to his first full term on November 1941, followed by two additional terms.

From 1925-1934, he served as supervisor of Ossining and between 1930-1934 served as chairman of the County Board of Supervisors. In June 1939, he was appointed county commissioner of finance, and two years later he was elected County Executive. Mr. Gerlach campaigned for state aid to support the county parkways and for cost-of-living supplements for county workers. He helped the county to acquire the Army airfield at Rye Lake which became the Westchester County Airport where commercial airline service was introduced a week before his 1949 re-election.

Born in Ossining on February 23, 1891, Mr. Gerlach attended public schools, graduated from Ossining High School as valedictorian and received his law degree from Syracuse University in 1914. During World War I, Mr. Gerlach enlisted in the U.S. Army as an officers candidate in the cavalry at Madison Barracks, but later switched to the U.S. Navy and was called into active service stationed at Pelham Bay. After the war, he practiced law and represented the Rockefeller interests in locating the United Nations headquarters in Westchester, a proposal that died in 1946 due to vociferous local opposition.

In 1953, Mr. Gerlach retired as County Executive and returned to private law practice. Meanwhile, he had become GOP county chairman, a post that he held until his death. Mr. Gerlach died on August 28, 1958.