Daniel Gerberich is recalled as “one of Lebanon’s best known men” of the period. Born October 1, 1854 to Daniel Uhrich and Catherine Boeshore Gerberich of Union Township, Lebanon County, the senator received his primary education at Walmer’s Church school. Gerberich, somewhat of a child prodigy, impressed his masters so, that by age 16 he matriculated from Palatinate (Albright) College, Myerstown; received a teaching degree in 1877; and secured an instructor’s position at Swopes Valley, Schuylkill County. The school re-elected the teenager to the position for eight consecutive sessions before he accepted the same position in Cornwall, Pennsylvania. After the death of his brother Alfred, Daniel, distraught over what he perceived as an unnecessary death, studied medicine in Philadelphia with Dr. Grumbine, graduating from the Hahnemann Medical College on March 12, 1881. Dr. Gerberich opened a practice in Myerstown in the same year, before moving to Lebanon in 1885 with his bride Sue L. Hinterleiter of Kutztown. He later served on the advisory board of Hahnemann and became a member of the State Health Commission, the Pennsylvania Medical Society, and American Medical Association.
The immensely popular physician succeeded John Gobin in the state Senate after his predecessor became lieutenant governor in 1899. Defeated by Dr. Samuel Weiss in November 1904, Dr. Gerberich returned to the upper house, served through 1916, and secured the president’s pro tempore gavel, 1912-1913. Dr. Gerberich chaired the 1905-1906 Buildings and Public Grounds Committee, however contributed his greatest gift as chair of Health and Public Sanitation, 1905-1912; 1915-1916. While the physician-politician championed pure food, health, and sanitation legislation, he also emerged as a moving force behind the “free highway bill” (1911 Sproul Highway Bill) and the abolishment of the state’s toll system. Among other initiatives, he exerted great influence over passage of the Commonwealth’s standard weights and measures law. A two-time delegate to the State Republican Convention, he served as a member of the Pennsylvania Health Department’s advisory board. The senator backed legislation attacking the fee system, abolishing the coal and iron police, and supported Sproul’s State Police bill. He assisted in the passage of the Pittsburgh-Allegheny City Consolidation Act, the Scott Education Bills, organization of the Department of Health, state treasury and banking reform, the 1911 public school system bill, and the Anthracite Mine Safety Act. Gerberich’s 1913 pro tem session represented the most progressive since the Cyrus Woods and Sproul Senates. The senator supported the 1913 Workmen’s Compensation Act, the 1913 state Uniform Election Bill (registration, U.S. Senator on ballot, and voting machine), adoption of the 17th Amendment, the 1913 state Equal Accommodation Civil Rights Bill, organization of the Public Service Commission, and the Teacher’s Tenure Bill. Additionally, he cosponsored the death penalty bill, establishment of the Legislative Reference Bureau, the 1907 State Highway Bill (certain roads maintained at state expense), and formation of the State Commerce Commission. Dr. Gerberich served as a past-master Mason, a member of the Mystic Shrine, and an accomplished teacher, physician, and public servant. While vacationing at Yellowstone National Park in 1915, the Honorable Daniel Philip Gerberich fell ill and never recovered. He passed away with “valvular heart disease” at his Lebanon home on Thanksgiving Day, November 29, 1917.