by KELLEY GUSICH | photos by Zeena Gregg Photography

Never Looking Back

Some of the greatest family stories come from the “how the parents met” file. The Gerlt file ranks as a favorite. Josh and Joanna met at age 21 when Joanna was at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Josh was bartending at the time, and he sent Joanna a beer when she was on a double date with someone else. They later found out they’d gone to rival high schools in St. Louis, graduated the same year, and unknowingly had many mutual friends. Seven years later, they married! The Gerlt’s “how we met” story then went into the books and set a landscape for the years that followed.

family_gerlt_2Initially moving from Missouri to Vista in 1999, Josh was getting his degree in golf course management and Joanna was working at Scripps Memorial in La Jolla. In 2004, they had reason to look for a new and larger place to live: their new son, Duncan. At only nine months old, Duncan was running – not walking – which made it clear the Gerlts needed more space. They started looking to buy their first home. PQ quickly became their preference for the reputation of the community, the ease of the 56 commute, and the stellar Poway Unified School District. “We knew we should take a closer look at this area when deciding to buy a home,” Josh and Joanna affirmed. “We’ve never looked back.” After a frenzied real estate search and a reiteration that the PQ area was a required element, they found their home in the Sundance area.

Joanna feels honored to have worked at Scripps Health for over 18 years, while Josh – although a Golf Pro by trade – spends time as a soccer coach for the San Diego Soccer Club (SDSC). He also works as a craftsman, building all types of indoor and outdoor furniture with reclaimed wood. Duncan, now a seventh grader at Black Mountain Middle School, loves soccer (he plays for the SDSC), Minecraft, and going to any of the local PQ parks with friends. “His bar mitzvah is coming up in April,” his parents shared, “so much of his time is spent studying and preparing for this milestone life event.”

The Gerlts enjoy being active and outdoors, so anything fun and sunny qualifies as a Gerlt hobby and interest. This close-knit family has found their groove in PQ, and they are never looking back!


Parents: Josh and Joanna
Children: Duncan (13)
Community: Sundance area of Rancho Peñasquitos
Hometowns: Joanna – Boston, MA; Josh – Kansas City, MO
Occupations: Joanna – Director of Regulatory Accreditation, Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla and Encinitas; Josh – Soccer coach
Favorite Spots in 92129: Josh and Duncan – Canyonside Park; Joanna – YMCA, Vons, and Golden Bagel!