By Kathleen Swift

Some couples fall in love at first sight, but Eric and Kellie Gerner’s love began in their childhood.

“We met before we remember,” said Kellie. “Eric’s dad, Dr. Gerner, delivered me. Our families were friends before we were born.

“My parents had a funeral home, and we lived in the back of it. Back then, all the doctors and my parents were on call 24/7, so Eric and I played together on the weekends. My grandparents lived in the middle of Woolaroc, and one day when my grandpa was trapping, he found a newborn baby deer. A bobcat had killed its mama. So, we raised the deer for two years in the back of the funeral home until I couldn’t walk her on a leash anymore. 

“Eric’s folks had a lot of land out in the country, so we gave him our deer to finish raising. I bet there aren’t too many couples that can say they shared a pet deer with their future mate when they were kids!”

Kellie and Eric started dating when Eric was a senior in high school.

“I think it was very much in the stars for us to be together forever. Eric worked at the local grocery store. I would go in and flirt with him. He took the bait, and we got married a month after he graduated high school. In June, we will be married 43 years,” said Kellie.

The couple own and operate Gold and Silver of Joplin, LLC and work side-by-side in the business. 

“I look forward to every day I get to work with my best friend,” said Eric. “She keeps me centered and our business on track. I would do this all again in a heartbeat, especially with Kellie!”

“Eric has always loved the coin business, and we have been in it together for over 25 years,” said Kellie. “Eric’s knowledge about coins, currency and the history of money is endless. His great-grandfather was even an engraver of paper money for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. 

“We love being together at work every day,” Kellie said. “Some married couples just can’t do it, but we were made for it. Our German shepherd, Stella Jo, is also with us 24/7. For me, getting to watch my husband interact with everyone is just so nice. He lives his life to make others happy and truly cares for everyone. I have never known anyone as wonderful. 

“We love going through family collections of coins. He spends the time to make sure a family understands exactly what every piece is and what it’s worth. I am the talker; I enjoy getting to know everyone. We have made so many awesome friends being here in Joplin. We also belong to many clubs and enjoy when our friends come in the store to visit. The best part of my day is every smile he gives me. As corny as it sounds, Eric still makes me feel like that teenager who fell in love with him years ago. God has blessed us in so many ways, and one of the best is getting to enjoy and work with your best friend 24/7.” 

See more photos in the February 2023 print and editions