Nowacki: Survivor reflects 70 years after fatal Duluth Dukes bus crash

From Jon Nowacki at the Duluth News-Tribune on July 23, 2018:

While the Humboldt Broncos bus crash sent shockwaves through the hockey community in April, it undoubtedly hit closer to home for Bernie Gerl.

Gerl, 91, is the last remaining survivor of the Duluth Dukes baseball team’s bus crash 70 years ago Tuesday, killing six in one of the worst tragedies in professional sports.

“I can’t believe it’s been that long,” said Gerl, a catcher on that 1948 team. “How did it goes so fast?”

Normally Gerl and his wife, Bernadine, of Joliet, Ill., try to make it to Duluth each summer around July 24, the anniversary of the crash, but Bernadine recently got out of the hospital.

Chuck Gerl, their son, said Duluth is the family’s “favorite place on the planet.”

It’s the friendships Gerl has made in the Twin Ports that he cherishes the most and kept him coming back most years since the crash. One of those friendships is with Bill Gedde, a longtime baseball fan and artist from Superior.

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Originally published: July 25, 2018. Last Updated: July 25, 2018.