Vitus Francis Gerken, 90, of Des Moines, died peacefully Sunday, Feb. 19, 2012, of natural causes.

Mass of Christian burial will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 24, at St Theresa of the Child Jesus Catholic Church with burial at Glendale Cemetery.

Visitation will be held 5-7 p.m. today at Brooks Funeral Care, 7975 University Boulevard, Clive, with a 7 p.m. rosary service.

Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Central Iowa or St. Theresa Church.

Vitus was born Nov. 8, 1921, to Francis and Anna (Bolke) Gerken in Arcadia.  He left the family farm and moved to Des Moines in 1956 where he met and married Margaret “Peg” Wilson. Together they had and raised five children.  

He was a member of St. Theresa Church and enjoyed fishing, baseball, spending time with his great-grandchildren and was known for his phenomenal story telling.

Vitus is survived by his children, Margaret (John) Boyt of Iowa City, Frank (Mary) Gerken of Steamboat Springs, Colo., Mark (Deb) Gerken of Colorado Springs, Colo., Elizabeth Gerken of Des Moines, Jean (Jon) West of Canton, Ga.; 10 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.  

He is preceded in death by his wife of 50 years, Peg, and his parents and siblings.