Page 1 of the Milwaukee Journal on Sunday, May
16, 1993: Lake Mills, WI
2 killed in apparent murder-suicide: Founder of
national men's group shot in back
An apparent murder-suicide in Lake Mills on
Saturday af afternoon has left two men dead. Police
would not release the names of the victims, saying
that it was an open investigation.
However, relatives, friends and neighbors
positively identified the men as Ronald R. Hering,
56, a nationally recognized leader of the
["the?"] men's movement, and Marvin
Gerstner, a retired electrician described as being
in his mid-60s.
A conflict between the two men apparently
focused on a custody dispute between Hering and
Susan Gerstner, Marvin Gerstner's daughter, over
the couple's 5-year-old daughter, sources said.
According to witnesses, Hering came to Gerstner's
ranch style home about 12:20pm to visit his
daughter, Gerstner met him at the door.
Moments later, Gerstner grabbed a 12-gauge
shotgun as Hering was walking away from the
Gerstner fired a shot from a shotgun that
contained rifled slugs used for deer hunting.
Hering began running and made it across the street
to a neighbor's yard when Gerstner fired again. The
second shot hit Hering square in the back,
witnesses said. "He was dead when he hit the
ground." said Gary Miller, a next-door neighbor.
"He had a hole in the middle of his back."
Gerstner then told his wife to get inside the
He laid down on his lawn, put the rifle to his
chest and pulled the trigger.
The bodies were kept on the yards until the
Jefferson County coroner could arrive and pronounce
Neighbors of Gerstner described him as a good
"He was a heck of a guy" said Marvin Metzker,
Family members gathered at Gerstner's house
would not answer the door when a Journal reporter
came to the house.
Hering was co-founder and director of training
for the Milwaukee-based New Warrior Network, Inc.,
a national men's organization. He was also a
business consultant and professional speaker whose
clients included Mercury Marine in Fond du Lac and
the Canadian Real Estate Association.
He had served as director of instruction for the
Kettle Moraine High School, a position he left in
1977 to work as an instructor at the University of
Wisconsin - Whitewater.
Hering was a regular guest on Wisconsin Public
"He was utterly dedicated to his daughter" said
Jean Feraca, a talk show host and friend. "And he
helped countless number of people who listened to
him on Wisconsin Public Radio".
Rich Tosi, president of the New Warrior Network,
praised Hering's work in the organization.
"Ron devoted his life to helping heal the hearts
of men and women. He did that in his workshops, in
his business consulting and in his personal life"
Hering and Marvin Gerstner's daughter, Susan,
43, had lived together since 1987. Their daughter
was born in 1988.
Susan Gerstner, a social worker in Jefferson
County, declined to be interviewed Saturday
"I do not feel like making a comment" she
In June, the couple separated and Gerstner moved
out of the Hering home, at 610 Fremont St. in Lake
Mills. In the months that followed, Susan Gerstner
accused Hering of sexually molesting the
Hering enlisted the aid of two attorneys to
defend him in the case. Gloria Gerstner, Marvin
Gerstner's widow, was scheduled for a deposition in
the custody case Monday, according to John Neupert,
Hering was allowed to visit his daughter only
under the supervision of friends whom Susan
Gerstner approved. Saturday was one of those
"The System Failed Us"
"The system has failed us" said John Hering, 27,
the youngest of Hering's five sons by a previous
marriage. John Hering had testified for his father
in the custody trial.
"Because my dad was a male, he did not have a
right to fight for his daughter's rights. My dad
was fighting for the rights of all men in this
custody case" John Hering said.
Marvin Gerstner had threatened suicide before,
John Hering said, and his father had reported that
to Jefferson County authorities, who took no
"Now Ron is dead with two deer slugs in his
back," John Hering said,
"And he died because of rumors. Ron had
witnesses to back him up. Marv had no one on his
Source: Edmund S Tuerina and Dennis R Getto
of the Journal staff
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