MRO Magazine

Norbert Gehr, Founder and CEO of The Gehr Group, Dies at 74

March 2, 2015
By Business Wire News


Norbert Gehr, visionary entrepreneur, industrialist, philanthropist and founder/CEO of The Gehr Group (, died at his home in Beverly Hills last Saturday night following a 17-month battle with leukemia. He was 74.

Norbert Gehr, founder and CEO of The Gehr Group (Photo: Business Wire)

Norbert Gehr, founder and CEO of The Gehr Group (Photo: Business Wire)

The death was announced today by The Gehr Group. “We mourn the loss of our leader, visionary and founder,” said David Lifschitz, President of The Gehr Group, in his address to employees at the company’s Los Angeles headquarters. “We are committed to preserve Norbert Gehr’s legacy for generations to come, and we vow to continue his tradition of hard work, perseverance and the relentless pursuit of excellence.”

“I am a risk taker who likes to be challenged,” said Norbert Gehr in a recent interview, “and I like to overcome those challenges. That makes me who I am.” “Norbert Gehr’s success was matched by his generous pursuit of philanthropy,” added Mark Goldman, Chief Counsel of The Gehr Group. “His charitable activities through his Gehr Family Foundation include the recent establishment of The Gehr Family Center for Leukemia Research at City of Hope.”

“Norbert Gehr’s life story is an inspiration to us all, a true Horatio Alger story,” added Carl Rosenthal, EVP of The Gehr Group and a long-time friend. “He came to this country 55 years ago with nothing but a burning ambition and, using his vision and drive, he created a very successful multinational business that supports hundreds of families.”

Norbert Gehr is survived by his four children Crystal Gehr, Max Gehr, Robert Gehr and Andrew Gehr.

Memorial services are scheduled for 11:00am on Sunday, March 8, 2015 at Hillside Memorial Park, 6001 West Centinela Ave, Culver City, CA 90045-1506, followed by a reception at the Gehr residence. The memorial services will be broadcast via live web stream beginning at 10:45am PDT on the date of the memorial via the following link:

The Gehr Success Story

Norbert Gehr arrived in New York City from Brazil in July 1960 as a teenager, with the dream of success and a few hundred dollars. He travelled across the United States to Southern California, where he took up residency and attended Santa Ana College and UCLA.

In 1965, at age 24, Norbert pursued his dream by using the modest proceeds from the sale of his car to start a small distribution business, selling industrial supplies nationwide to contractors over the phone. He hired, trained and supervised commissioned salesmen and distributed his products out of a small storefront in the San Fernando Valley. Through his drive, determination, hard work and perseverance, Norbert Gehr grew his business, hired more sales people and moved his expanding operations to downtown Los Angeles.

In 1975, Norbert established his own manufacturing facility, producing extension cords and other wire & cable products. Competing with industry giants like General Cable, Woods Wire, Leviton Industries and others, he continued growing his operations and in 1986 relocated his businesses to the City of Commerce, east of downtown Los Angeles, where he acquired a 13-acre 256,000 square feet facility to locate an expanded manufacturing plant and headquarter his distribution operations, which had already grown to almost 300 employees at the time. In the same period, Norbert founded Gehr International and Gehr Development.

After 49 years since its inception, The Gehr Group has become a diversified multinational holding company headquartered in Los Angeles, California. Its principal business units are engaged in international trade, real estate, manufacturing, wholesale and distribution.

  • Gehr Industries engages in the manufacturing, sale and distribution of wire & cable, industrial supplies and related products throughout the United States and Canada. The company operates two divisions, Century Wire & Cable and Milspec Industries.
  • Gehr Development engages in the ownership and operation of hospitality, commercial, retail, industrial and residential real estate. In the past 30 years, Gehr Development has owned and operated over 1,000 residential units in and over 1,000,000 square feet of industrial, office and retail space in California and Florida. In February 2009, Gehr Development expanded into the hospitality field with the acquisition of a 34-story hotel property in Manhattan, New York, located near Times Square. Later that year, Gehr Development opened Sky Room, Manhattan’s tallest rooftop lounge, and in June 2011 it acquired a second 34-story hotel property, also located near Times Square.
  • Gehr International engages in the marketing, sales, installation and after-sales service of high-technology equipment and systems in the Marine/Offshore, Military, Environmental and Telecommunications markets in Brazil. Gehr International is the exclusive representative in Brazil for world-renowned companies and defense contractors such as: General Dynamics, Astronautics Corporation of America, Krauss Maffei Wegmann, Israel Aerospace Industries, Israel Military Industries, and others.

David Lifschitz