With sadness but also with comfort for the peace he has found, we share the passing of John (Johnny) Louis Gerbrecht, Jr. He was age 91 and died peacefully at his home in the midst of his family. Johnny received his Bachelor and Master degrees in Music Education from LSU in Baton Rouge in the 1950’s. He was an outstanding musician in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, area for over 60 years. He had a full life doing the things he loved: playing and teaching music, spending time and celebrating events with his family/friends, and enjoying hobbies, namely fishing and gardening. Johnny was a well-known, excellent music educator for 66 years, from 1953 to 2019, having taught private students and bands at Breaux Bridge High, Joseph Kohn Jr. High, Catholic High, Port Allen High, Lee High, Baton Rouge Magnet High and St. George schools. He offered and shared his love for family, friends and students with a disciplined but gentle approach. He was a faithful Catholic, sharing his musical talents to celebrate the God he loved, and was the choir director at St. George Catholic Church for 32 years with his wife Lynette alongside him as the organist.
During his time as a music educator, Johnny’s orchestras, jazz and concert bands consistently received superior ratings at festivals throughout the local area. He received numerous awards and recognition for his contributions as a musician and educator. He was a member of the Louisiana Association for Jazz Education, the Louisiana Music Educators Association, the International Trumpet Guild, and the Louisiana Bandmasters Association. He was inducted into the Louisiana Association for Jazz Education Hall of Fame and the Baton Rouge High School Hall of Fame. Johnny performed professionally as a trumpeter in many venues as part of a number of music groups in South Louisiana including Baton Rouge Little Theater, Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, Johnny Gerbrecht Group, Pelican State Brass Quintet, The Riverside Trio, Jan Dupre and the Gentlemen of Swing, XL Acoustic Jazz band, and Buddy-Lee Orchestra.
In 1967, Johnny and Lee Fortier (deceased), both outstanding jazz musicians and former band directors at Baton Rouge Magnet High School, were initial organizers of the Annual Fortier-Gerbrecht Jazz Invitational Concert. It was a vision of these two exceptional music educators to give local school jazz bands the opportunity to perform before attending spring jazz festivals. In 1996, Johnny was a co-founder and original conductor of the Baton Rouge Jazz Ensemble, a non-profit group of professional and amateur musicians who perform at various venues in the greater Baton Rouge area and promote jazz music awareness and education.
Johnny is survived by his beloved wife of 65 years, Lynette (Keller) Gerbrecht. Throughout their many years together they served as role models of a happy loving relationship and as Parents/Grandparents/Great-Grandparents. He is also survived by 4 children (and spouses): John Lyn (Danita) Gerbrecht, James Edward (Rosie) Gerbrecht, Jed Jacob (Dee) Gerbrecht, and Jan Marie Gerbrecht (Greg) Dupre; 8 Grandchildren: Dena (Erin) Gerbrecht, Dawn Gerbrecht (Steve) Kelly, Jeremy (Jennifer) Gerbrecht, Josh Gerbrecht, Justin Gerbrecht, Jamie Rose Gerbrecht (Micah) Arel, Jacob (Elisia) Dupre, and John Dupre; 8 Great-Grandchildren: Jillian, Maryn, and Kendal Kelly, and Sutter, Madden, Blaise, Tyler, and Trey Gerbrecht; his brother Jerold Gerbrecht; his brother-in-law Richard Burkart; and many nephews, nieces, cousins, etc. Johnny was preceded in death by his parents, John Louis Gerbrecht, Sr. and Belle Martin; sisters Janet (Gerbrecht) Burkart and Juanita (Gerbrecht) Loup; and sister-in-law Peggy (Kennedy) Gerbrecht.
A Visitation will be held on Sunday July 17 from 5 PM to 8 PM at Resthaven Gardens of Memory and Funeral Home, 11817 Jefferson Hwy, BR, LA 70816. Visitation will also be on Monday July 18 from 10 AM to 11 AM at St. George Catholic Church, 7808 St. George Drive, with a Mass of Christian Burial to follow at 11 AM also at St. George Catholic Church, and burial service to follow at St. George Cemetery.
Pallbearers will be Jeremy Gerbrecht, Josh Gerbrecht, Justin Gerbrecht, Jamie Arel, Jacob Dupre, and John Dupre. If you wish to make a donation in memory of Johnny, please consider contributing to The Baton Rouge Jazz Ensemble which will support the annual Fortier-Gerbrecht Jazz Invitational Concert (for further information, contact Jan Dupre at email@example.com).