Rudolph S. Gebhardt, banker

Rudolph S. Gebhardt, who went from being a circus performer to a banker, died Sept. 10 of a blood clot at his Clearwater, Fla., home.

The former longtime Glen Arm resident was 86.


The son of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performers, Mr. Gebhardt was born in Baltimore and made his circus debut when he was 9 at the old Madison Square Garden in New York City, performing with his family's horses act.

After the 1939 circus strike, he and his family free-lanced and worked for other circuses, horse shows, fairs and rodeos.


Mr. Gebhardt, who had only an eighth-grade education, retired from the circus in 1962 and took a job in the real estate department of Mercantile Safe-Deposit and Trust Co., where he worked for a decade.

From 1973 until retiring in 1993, Mr. Gebhardt, who had risen to vice president, headed the old Maryland National Bank's trust real estate department.

Mr. Gebhardt, who moved to Clearwater in 2002, had been an active member of Circus Fans of America, where a tent and ring were named for his family's stage name of Rudynoff.

He was a former vice president of Sarasota Tent 102 and served as president from 2007 to 2009. He was a former member of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hydes.

No services will be held in Baltimore, and in accordance with Mr. Gebhardt's wishes, his ashes will be spread in the Chesapeake Bay.

Surviving are his wife of 56 years, the former Beverly J. Mueller, whom he met in the circus; two sons, Mark R. Gebhardt of Pasadena and Scott R. Gebhardt of Woodbridge, Va.; two grandchildren; and two step-great-grandchildren.